Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sambossa Jazz

I had such a great time putting the previous Jazz selection together, that I thought it would be a good idea to go through all the great collection of Brazilian music I have, and write a post about Jazz from Brazil. Sambossa is a contraction between Samba and Bossa, and reflects the flavor of Brazilian Jazz really well.

In deed, if Brazil is famous for being the birthplace of Bossa Nova, and the the homeland of Samba music - the history of Jazz in Brazil is also very rich. This selection features some of the great names in the genre, and will certainly surprise you if you are not yet familiar with them.

The list starts out with Rubens Bassini, a bongo player who recorded many albums as a sideman for João Gilberto, Sergio Mendes, Dom Salvador and only 2 under his name. Bongos don't have a very large place in Bossa Nova, Samba and MPB as bongos are more associated with Afro-cuban music. Rubens is the face of Bongo music in Brazil - and what a face!

Next are 2 songs by jazz pianist João Donato, from his 1962 album "Muito a Vontade". Donato went on to become one of the most prolific piano arrangers in Brazil, working with artist like Tom Jobim, Deodato, Sergio Mendes, Astrud Gilberto, and many others.
This album was his first on the piano and was recorded in just 2 days and most of the songs were composed on the studio.

The following title is by "Corisco e os sambaloucos" and is filled with percussions, a mellow samba groove and amazing vibraphone and trumpet solos that last for more than half of the song!

J.T. Meirelles, the father of Samba Jazz, arranger of the first Jorge Ben albums, talented saxophonist and flautist, leader of the legendary "Copa 5", passed away only a few days ago on June 4th. These two songs are from his 1964 album "O Som", and this post is of course dedicated to his memory.

The two following songs are form Milton Banana Trio. Milton Banana was a seminal Bossa Nova drummer, and worked in the studio with all the greatest names: João Gilberto, Jobim, Stan Getz, Johnny Alf, Roberto Menescal, etc... He recorded the two most historic Bossa Nova albums (Chega de Saudade by J. Gilberto, and Getz/Gilberto), and can be credited with inventing the Bossa Nova drumming style.

Waltel Branco's 1966 album "Mancini Tambem è Samba" is made of Henry Mancini covers, including the title "Meglio stasera", from the Pink Panther Soundtrack.

Then comes Sambalanço Trio. A jazz trio with a very pure yet personal style, composed of César Camargo Mariano (piano), Humberto Clayber (bass) and Airto Moreira (drums). Mariano later became one of the biggest arrangers in Brazil, and Moreira after moving to the US, became one of the most famous jazz drummers in the world and has worked with Mlies Davis, Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Jack DeJohnette, John McLaughlin, Keith Jarrett, Al Di Meola, George Duke, the Greatful Dead, and Chick Corea (just to name a few).

Dom Salvador also is one of the biggest names in Brazilian music. Talented pianist, precursor in Samba Jazz, and Brazilian Funk, featured more than once already on this very blog, and currently living in New York City, where he still performs weekly.

The last few songs in this selection are far from being less good than the previous. Roberto Menescal is another founder of the Bossa Nova movement and a very talented guitarist. The two next outfits "Le Trio Camara" and "Mandrake Som" both recorded outside of Brazil. Le Trio Camara were a relatively unknown French trio, and they must have been listening to a lot of Brazilian music, which was very much in vogue in 1968, when they released their self-titled album. Inspired by the likes of João Gilberto, João Donato, Milton Banana, and Baden Powell, their bossa infused jazz is very lively, groovy and danceable. So good I put 3 songs from their album!!

So, if this selection of brazilian jazz rarities does not have you jumping on the table by now, no doubt you will be when you hear Mandrake Som. An obsucre Bossa-Jazz group that recorded this amazing album in Italy in 1975. The track "Reza" has a 2:30 mn percussion intro, and like I said, this will have you literally jumping on the table.

Closing track is Ed Lincoln's cover of "A Sack o' Woe" (Saca-Uo) from Cannonball Adderley's album "Mercy Mercy Mercy". Groovy organ action, Brazil style.

Tracklist is:

01. Rubens Bassini - Mirage, 1961
02. João Donato e Seu Trio - Naquela Base, 1962
03. João Donato e Seu Trio - Vamos Nessa, 1962
04. Corisco e os Sambaloucos - Volta por Cima, 1963
05. Meirelles e os Copa 5 - Quintessência, 1964
06. Meirelles e os Copa 5 - Solo, 1964
07. Milton Banana Trio - Minha Saudade, 1965
08. Milton Banana Trio - Garota de Ipanema, 1965
09. Sambalanço Trio - Tensao, 1965
10. Sambalanço Trio - Improviso Negro, 1966
11. Waltel Branco - Meglio stasera, 1966
12. Dom Salvador Trio - Freds Ahead, 1966
14. Roberto Menescal - Five Four, 1969
15. Le Trio Camara - Muito A Vontade, 1968
16. Le Trio Camara - Bia, 1968
17. Le Trio Camara - Noa Noa, 1968
18. Mandrake Som - Reza, 1975
19. Mandrake Som - Deixa Isso Pra La, 1975
20. Ed Lincoln - Sack O' Woe (Saca-Uo), 1968

Clique aqui pra baixar essa pérola, e disfruta sem parar ;)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Deep Jazz, hard and dark

Here it is, finally - my first attempt at compiling some of my favorite jazz pieces in a way that is both pleasant and coherent.

It starts with rather darker compositions, heavy on the baritone sax and low chords with some fine work from Charlie Mingus, Sahib Shihab, Roy Porter and Yusef Lateef, then lightens up a bit to some classic themes all executed in alternate versions, the moods speeds up a little bit with some great Bebop and finishes with some more soulful, mellow jazz.

The opening track is from the soundtrack of "A bout de Souffle" (Breathless), from French-Algerian pianist Martial Solal. Not only is Godard's movie one of my all time favorite, the score written for it fits the film so well, it almost tells the story...

Then the song "Moanin'", a frenzied tune by Charles Mingus and his big band, dark as the night and curiously so uplifting... It's followed by two Sahib Shihab tracks from the album Companionship. Shihab was an American saxophonist (baritone, alto and soprano) and flautist, who converted to Islam and then moved to Europe in the late 50s, tired with the racial tensions in the US. He lived in Danemark and recorded some of the best European modal jazz albums ever released. On these two dark, frantic and percussive tracks, he teams up with Francy Boland, Kenny Clarke, Jimmy Woode just to name a few... A desert Island record for any serious jazz lover.

Steve Reid comes next, with "Free Spirits" from his 1976 album Nova. This is spiritual jazz, much less conventional in form and structure, and it can take a few listens to fully appreciate. His music is dark and introvert, and the man has an atypical and fascinating story: He played in Sun Ra’s Arkestra, was a Motown session drummer and backed James Brown at the Apollo! He was imprisoned during the Vietnam war as a conscientious objector and lived in Africa in the early 1970s.

Roy Porter's "Jessica" is a great instrumental theme by this talented L.A. drummer, still very dark, but funky and mellow at the same time. Incredibly rare recording from 1984, and worth every penny of it if you manage to find a copy.

Then comes a mix of more standard jazz pieces, such as Charlie Parker's rendition of "A night in Tunisia", written by Dizzie Gillespie (with Miles Davis on trumpet and Roy Porter on Drums). This one piece is considered by many a defining moment in Jazz, and a turning point leading to the Bebop revolution...

It is followed by some more Big-Band work by Clarke & Boland (Speedy Reeds), the beautiful "Snafu" from Yusef Lateef's masterpiece album "Eastern Sounds", and an amazing rendition of Duke Ellington's standard "Caravan" by Thelonious Monk.

More Classic themes follow, "Poiniciana" by Ahmad Jamal, "Nica's Dream" by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (including pianist Horace Silver, who composed this gem), and "Giant Steps" by Coltrane. "Nica's Dream" is one of many Jazz standards dedicated to the baroness Pannonica "Nica" de Koenigswarter, who was a great jazz enthusiast and member of the prominent Rothschild family. Nica was a friend and patron of many of Jazz's greatest... Charlie Parker lived and died in her New York City Suite, and Thelonious Monk in her house in New Jersey.

Hank Mobley, Cannonball Adderley and Ramsey Lewis follow, and the list ends with two beautiful, soulful tracks: the short but mystic "Django" by Cal Tjader, and the melancholic "Life has it Trials", by harpist Dorothy Ashby, unfortunately the only woman to be featured in this selection.

Tracklist is:

01. Martial Solal - Duo (A Bout De Souffle), 1960
02. Charles Mingus - Moanin', 1959
03. Sahib Shihab - Om Mani Padme Um, 1960's
04. Sahib Shihab - Bohemia After Dark, 1960's
05. Steve Reid - Free Spirits, 1976
06. Roy Porter - Jessica (Instrumental), 1984
07. Charlie Parker - A night in Tunisia, 1946
08. Clarke-Boland Big Band - Speedy Reeds, 1963
09. Yusef Lateef - Snafu, 1961
10. Thelonious Monk - Caravan, 1955
11. Ahmad Jamal - Poinciana, 1958
12. Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers - Nica's Dream, 1956
13. John Coltrane - Giant Steps, 1959
14. Hank Mobley - Gayle's Groove, 1970
15. Cannonball Adderley - Hippodelphia, 1966
16. Ramsey Lewis Trio - Look-a-here, 1963
17. Cal Tjader - Django, 1967
18. Dorothy Ashby - Life has its trials, 1968

Download here and enjoy :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Jazz Funk Break Beats

Finally some more good music on Food4Funk!! I'm back this time with a selection of soulful Jazz and Funk tunes, all rare and extremely groovy with tons of FAT drum breaks, rolling bass lines and crazy Fender Rhodes keyboards solos... The kind of music you unfortunately don't hear on the radio, or when you go out... but that will -- with no doubt -- make you want to turn the sound up, and nod your head to the beat. The kind of music you will -- for sure -- hear if you walk into my apartment :)

Great Jazz Funk, from Cortex and Placebo, which I have already featured on this blog, and who define the European Jazz fusion sound from my standpoint. More Europeans too, with the super talented Janko Nilovic, a film and library music producer from Montenegro, who lived in Paris and produced over 30 albums in the 70s. Also from France: Bernard Estardy, legendary organ player and sound engineer, with a real chaser here called Road Number 9... Francis Lai, the Oscar winning soundtrack producer for "Love Story" and "Un homme et une femme" (A Man and A Woman), with his ultra funky title "Rapt" from the film "L'aventure c'est l'aventure". And finally Airto Fogo, which I hardly know anything about, except that they were recorded in France, and released only there and in Canada. Heavy heavy bass and choppy wah-wah guitars... Starsky & Hutch Style.

There are also a few amazingly good pieces from German musicians... such as Jazz Rock genius bass player Peter Trunk, with the Beautiful: "Fresh air, where?" - Classic Funk track "Executive Party" from the movie "Rollerball" by German-born André Prévin (who has won 4 Oscars for best Musical Score); and the amazing Theme song from the late seventies German TV show "Timm Tahler", one of the finest pieces of cosmic synth music you will probably ever listen to...

Music from other parts of the world as well, as the track "River of Fire", by Melodiya Ensemble from 1974, which is said to be the very first jazz-rock effort in the USSR. The result is simply stunning. Also Rogier Van Otterloo, an orchestral arranger from Holland once called the Dutch Quincy Jones...

You'll aslo find some great American artists that I invite you to discover: The very unique Moondog, and his Lament for Charlie "Bird" Parker, which you've probably already heard as a very notorious sample, Mike Longo (more Starsky & Hutch style action), Ramsey Lewis, Oliver Sain, Jack McDuff, David Matthews and Ike Turner (with the super funky "Thinking Black").

Track list is:

01. Moondog - Lament 1 (Bird's Lament), 1969
02. Ike Turner - Thinking Black, 1969
03. Airto Fogo - Right On Bird, 1976
04. Cortex - La rue, 1974
05. Placebo - Humpty Dumpty, 1971
06. Ramsey Lewis - Tambura, 1974
07. Peter Trunk - Fresh Air, Where?, 1973
08. Melodyia Ensemble - River of Fire, 1974
09. Janko Nilovic - Cross Rolls, 1970's
10. Andre Previn - Executive Party (Rollerball), 1975
11. Jack McDuff - Electric Surf Board, 1976
12. David Mathews - Dune, Part II (Sandworms), 1977
13. Rogier van Otterloo - My Dearest Fluffie, 1976
14. Mike Longo - Like a Thief in the Night, 1974
15. Oliver Sain - London Express, 1975
16. Francis Lai - Rapt (L'aventure c'est l'aventure), 1972
17. Christian Bruhn - Wetten, dass.. (Timm Tahler), 1979
18. Bernard Estardy - Road Number 9, 1970's

Download, relax, play loud and funkify your soul....