Tag Archive | Compilations

Compilation Pick: First Volume of Many In Bossa Now! Series Became Rousing Success

Image courtesy of freecodesource.com

Image courtesy of freecodesource.com

Released on June 26, 2008 under the NuGroove Records/Point South label, this compilation was the start of several bossa themed versions where many popular jazz artists combined their unique talents and came up with this cute gem of an album.

The song that ignited my passion and started my love affair for Brazilian jazz leads it off with Marcela Mangabeira’s memorable ballad of “Para Ti.”  After that, only three of the remaining 11 tracks last just over three minutes each.

Roberto Menescal contributes mightily in this album with four entries, but only one as a solo artist (“Influencia do Jazz” on Track 2).  He also teams up with his trio on their version of the megapopular hit song “Mas Que Nada” on Track 3, along with the remix to “Swingueira” on Track 7, and Wanda Sa joins him on Track 8 with “Tem Do.”

Another cool song to check out is on Track 4, “Ela E Carioca” by Os Cariocas.  Definitely something to savor as the ladies walk by mostly without a care in the world, except to remember that they apply adequate sunscreen so they wouldn’t get any type of burns or even worse.  Leny Andrade’s soulful version of “Rio” closes out this compilation.

Future versions of this series also included tunes in bossa form in the version originally penned by Burt Bacharach and Stevie Wonder.

During the final week of September, I will be highlighting one of my all-time favorite artists in the world of smooth jazz as I explore Volume 7 with Gervaso Silva taking a true spin as the “Smooth Operator” tackling the fun songs done originally in the middle 1980’s by Sade.

In the meantime, a song that should put every one of us in a very good mood will be my album selection next week.  The group’s name is De-Phazz and their 1999 lounge album simply called Godsdog has one really memorable track that will have you singing the chorus for years to come.
But there is one small catch–please do not be at all fooled by the album cover.

You will find out when September begins.  Hope to see you all then.

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Compilation Pick: Brazilian Chill Sessions Provide Instant Summer Relief

Image courtesy of theorchard.es

Image courtesy of theorchard.es

Twelve tracks of instant summer bliss awaits when you check out this 2007 selection from Argentina’s Music Brokers label.

Sprizty versions of classic Brazilian jazz songs are included.  “The Girl from Impanema” on Track 2 done by Ituana, while Karen Souza does a suave version of “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars” on Track 6.

Other cool songs to check out include Antonio Carlos Jobim’s classic “Wave” tune done on Track 5 covered brilliantly by Brazilian Jazz Cuts vs. Style Project.  Also worth taking a note is on Track 10 with “How Insensitive”, another Jobim classic done by the group Stereo Dub.

Overall, another really cool compilation album and this CD is widely available online.

Next week, we will stay in Brazil but feature a rising artist who was actually born in the United States and has called Rio her home since 2008.

I will profile her solo virtual album next week.  Hope to see you then.

Artists Worth Checking Out: Soulstance Is A True Summer Delight

Image courtesy of discogs.com

Image courtesy of discogs.com

Here is a different compilation of sorts to close out this rather rainy and wet month of June (at least for most people in the Eastern half of the United States).

In 2001, Gianni Lo Greco and Enzo made some really nice compositions and it would become one of Schema Records best producing albums.

Although initial sales statistics are not available, this music features some summertime cricket sounds when you first hit the <Play> button.

Very steady and soothing grooves throughout as Enzo plays the flute, guitar, electric and acoustic bass, and keyboards.  Gianni did the drums and percussion.  They also got some assistance later in the album with the flute by Giulio Visbelli and more vocals and steady bass on Tracks 8 (the title track) and Track 11 by Antonella Mazza, the popular “Mainstream” hit song.

For your reference, most of the tracks appeared in prior albums titled En Route and Act On!  My favorite songs are the opening track, “Blue Grassland”, Track 4 with their version of “Kickin’ Samba” and Track 5, the theme from Abbadesse’s Street, which turns out to be a popular street in Rome, Italy.

Some very sexy vocals occupy Track 6, “Riding the Mambo”–nice song to kick off your heels and shoes after a rough day at the office or getting through a grueling workout at your favorite gym of choice.

But most of the rest of the album mostly takes on the same smooth and romantic qualities of slow and steady grooves–with the small exception of the faster pace on Track 10 simply titled, “En Route.”

A great choice for any time of year, but summer in particular–this album definitely gets my highest rating and it is available for purchase online.

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With the Independence Day holiday weekend coming soon as the United States gears up to celebrate another birthday, you may have noticed some of my regular blogs being replaced from time to time by updates from down in Rio de Janiero.  That is a for very good reason.

We are a little over 13 months away from the 31st Summer Olympic Games, the very first to be contested in the continent of South America.

From time to time, I will plan to update fans and fellow MPB artists on the progress of some of the venues that may still not be completed and ready to host competitions.

Look for my next update sometime early next week.

The regular weekly CD music reviews resume just after the Fourth of July holiday weekend with the group headed up by the father of Sabrina Malheiros (a past blog subject when I discussed her rather cool summer type albums in July 2013) in Azymuth.

If I don’t see any comments before July kicks off in earnest, I hope that all of you that reside in the United States have both a fun and safe holiday weekend.

Please do not let the fireworks hurt any people or property and see to it that those grills are lit properly so everyone can enjoy their favorite hot dogs, hamburgers, or my favorite summer pastime when it comes to BBQ food–the shish-ka-bob (just me typing that last sentence alone wants me to taste some the first chance I get).

See you all sometime next week.

Monthly Compilation Pick: Time To Chill with Chill: Brazil

And I mean that literally.

At the time this blog was typed, my hometown area went from a Friday high of a sticky 82 down to an autumn-like 55 with brisk north winds making it feel even colder.

Perhaps, the people from Warner Music International back when this compilation album was released in 2002 might have had these songs in mind as a great frame of reference.

Image courtesy of my own personal collection

Image courtesy of my own personal collection

This was actually the second volume of 5 in the series.

The original covered 34 wide ranging tracks.

The album that I am profiling features 36 songs that you can really groove to.

On Disk One, there is the likes of Azymuth, Bebel Gilberto, Paula Toller, and Ed Motta.

On the second disk, there are some instantly recognizable songs from Tom Jobim leading off with “Gatora de Ipanema” (“The Girl from Ipanema”), Joao Gilberto’s famous “Tim Tim Por Tim Tim” and Bebel’s early hit “Tanto Tempo”.

The late Milton Nascimento is also featured with the likes of Kid Abelha, Hermeto Pascoal, and Os Cariocas.

Nice compilation to enjoy while you are either working around the house or cooking up something new and exciting from your many shelves of cookbooks (or popping up that next cool classic recipe from the Food Network website).

June promises to be just as sizzling, as I will have reviews from the likes of early 1990’s artist Velas, Claudio Zoli, Marcio Faraco, and hopefully a two-fer from Maria Bethania.

And I will hope to close out the month before the fireworks began in earnest around the United States in advance of the Independence Day holiday weekend (which will actually start a day early on Friday, July 3) with another neat compilation pick.

And yes, there will be one huge Olympic update to look forward to come Father’s Day weekend as far as actual competition is concerned:

NBC is making a return to the sport where they once gained a big cult following during the 1990’s as the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) pro beach volleyball tour makes a FIVB Rio Olympics qualifying stop in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Once that match gets closer, I will provide you with the key times on when to watch the matches and a link to learn more about each of the players vying for future Olympic glory.

With the 2012 retirement of popular American women’s star Misty May-Treanor, it is up to the likes of Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross to keep the gold firmly in American hands.  Similar case on the men’s side of the ledger with popular star player Phil Dauser once again leading the charge in this being a truncated 2015 AVP season.

But as is often the case, Brazil’s players on both the men’s and women’s sides should be forces to reckon with.  Just ask any fan of North Carolina and Duke basketball, and they will tell you that it is not wise to wake up the sleeping giants.

Please enjoy the rest of your weekend.

I wish to give a small shout-out to those new fans who recently signed up for this blog (including Jessy J, one of my all-time favorite jazz artists)–thank you and please look around at my many posts.

I look forward to reading each and every one of your comments.

Compilation Pick: Classic Jazz in Pure Bossa you want? The Brazil Connection Has That And More

Image courtesy of digitaljournal.com

Image courtesy of digitaljournal.com

Released just in time before Christmas 2014, this really cool compilation from Studio Rio did it right.

There is absolutely no sugarcoating here.

Each classic jazz tune was given the pure boss nova treatment.

“What would these classic songs sound like had they been recorded in the studios of Rio de Janeiro in the first place, with the best Brazilian musicians and arrangers?”

Frank and Christian Berman, inside the liner notes on how the album came together during their rainy season in March 2013.

My favorite cuts are on the first three tracks, featuring Bill Withers and “Lovely Day”, Aretha Franklin’s “Walk On By” (albeit at a slightly faster pace than the original), and Marvin Gaye’s timeless standard, “Sexual Healing”.

Tracks 7 and 8 almost felt like if you were being transported back to Minneapolis during the filming of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  The simple reason why I say that is, just listen to the beats and rhythms–definitely pure late 1960’s/early 1970’s mellow vibes with Mel Torme’s classic tune, “I’ve Got Your Under My Skin” (btw, special shout out to Halie Loren, who will be covering that tune in her latest album Butterfly Blue to be released on June 9.

A soothing version of Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” tune is definitely something to behold, along with a pure jazz standard in the late Dave Brubeck teaming up with Carmen McRae (rather suave lyrics, don’t you think?) on “Take Five.”  All Andy Williams fans would really enjoy savoring Track 11 with “Music To Watch Girls By”, but bringing up the rear is none other than legend Sarah Vaughan ushering us into “Summertime.”

It can be found under the Legacy Recordings website, along with eBay, Amazon, and other online retailers worldwide.  Overall, an excellent album with plenty of B&W pics of the original artists themselves really make this compilation a real keeper.

Compilation Pick of the Month: Starbucks customers in 2014 were delighted

Image courtesy of 45worlds.com

Image courtesy of 45worlds.com

If you are a keen follower of business news like I am, you would know that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is quite a visionary.

He has accomplished so much through the last several years in making Starbucks relevant not just here in the United States, but the world over.

To nobody’s surprise in the summer of 2014, customers were probably either pleasantly surprised or quite stunned when they purchased this commemorative compilation in what the company simply termed as, “Summery Pop Tunes.”

Zuco 103 is part of this album, and yes there is Astrud Gilberto again on Track 10 with “The Girl from Ipanema”.  Even Seu Jorge and Almaz might have thought that the moonwalk was cool as they did a bossa nova take on the late, great Michael Jackson’s memorable light rock tune (also covered impeccably well by longtime fan of this blog in Fabiana Passoni) in “Rock With You.”  Some other songs in this album originated from the 1970’s right up to the release in 2014.

The liner notes by David Legry are very cool to read and with the true tropical backdrop, the cover is sweet.  The pace is both fast and slow at points, and even Starbucks gave out their website for those fans interested in picking up the same sounds they hear when they pick up their usual morning coffee or latte fix.

Although this is a nice compilation pick to clean your house or just to kick off your heels after a rough day at work–sadly, after a nearly eight year run, Starbucks baristas will be streaming their own favorites in-house via a Spotify app instead of selling CD’s:

http://www.stereogum.com/1802589/thanks-to-spotify-starbucks-baristas-will-now-dj-for-you-instead-of-talking-about-racism/news/

I am sure eBay and Amazon should have some copies of past CD’s available for purchase online.

While most of you will be celebrating the Easter holiday this coming weekend, I will have some more cool album reviews for April.

Look for the likes of Kleber Jorge, Yutaka, and a really neat sounding album by Caibedo Island to fill up your inbox.

To close out the month, my compilation choice is again another selection from 2014.  One record label thought it would be cool to mix classic jazz and R&B tunes of the 1960’s and 1970’s from the likes of Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye and put them all in a bossa nova breezy style of mind.  Similar to using your top-of-the-line blender and mixer to bake that perfect bunny good Easter surprise dessert, this album is sure to be a definite keeper.

And yes, you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Please have a good rest of the day.

Master Composers: Al Jarreau Does Classy Move For A Friend

This is what you would have seen on March 3, 1985 from ABC:

That was Al Jarreau’s voice performing the theme song for the once popular series Moonlighting, which lasted a surprising four years before succumbing to–you guessed it, bad ratings.

Image courtesy of jazzchill.blogspot.com

Image courtesy of jazzchill.blogspot.com

Throughout the remarkable 47 year career of multi-Grammy Award winning artist Al Jarreau (who turns 75 on March 12), he gathered a bunch of his closest friends in the world of R&B and smooth jazz by releasing this really cool tribute album in autumn 2014.

The collaboration with George Duke began in the middle 1960’s, when Jarreau was earning his Master’s degree from the University of Iowa in vocational rehabilitation.  According to Wikipedia, he would subsequently work as a rehab counselor in San Francisco, and was able to moonlight with George Duke and his trio.

Over three decades has passed since many memorable jazz songs from the likes of “After All”, “We’re In This Love Together”, and “Boogie Down”.  Ironically enough, on one of Jarreau’s most famous albums, the 1981 release of Breakin’ Away–there it is on the second track, “My Old Friend.”  George Duke was the arranger and pianist on the album that would ninth in the USA Billboard Top 200 charts.

Gerald Albright does a rather suave version leading off this tribute album.  Dianne Reeves appears on a couple of tunes, “Someday” on Track 2 and a nearly five minute melody on Track 9 with “Brazilian Love Affair”/”Up From the Sea”/It Arose And Ate Rio in One Sweet Bite.”  Even Track 5 of “Sweet Baby” is beautifully done with the help of Lalah Hathaway assisting Jarreau on the key vocals.

But the best track IMHO was the fourth one, a Somebossa version of “Summer Breezin'” with Gerald Albright.  This version definitely hits all of the high notes, and then some!

The pace is steady, never slow nor tedious–just the right mix to either kick off your heels/shoes after a rough day or putting the top down en route to Spring Break or some area beach during those hot, summer months.

An even better reason to buy this album, the first three pages of the liner notes were penned by Al Jarreau himself.  No sugarcoating, just lots of groovy love and virtual kisses all the way around!

On the last page of this very special released by Concord Records, there is a special link where you can unlock bonus content.

Overall, a nice selection of songs as one jazz masters pays tribute to one of his greatest friends in the genre of jazz.

Next week, while the memories of the recent West Coast Port strike still slightly fresh in our minds with popular clothiers like Levi’s, Old Navy, and others patiently waiting for shipments to dock to other ports across the United States…I have just the album title for you.

The artist is Akira Jimbo and his album is simply titled, Slow Boat.

Look for that in your inbox next week.  Please have a good night, everybody.  Sure hope the ice storms are not as nasty again in the South, as the Midwest got their first taste of slightly glazed roads during the morning hours on Tuesday.