Tag Archives: Brazil

Artist Profiles: Toquinho

Toquinho

Antônio Pecci Filho, better known as Toquinho, was born July 6, 1946 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He began playing guitar at 14 and used the nickname his mother had given him, Toquinho. he learned music with masters such as Paulinho Nogueira, Edgar Janulo, Òscar Castro Nieves, Isaías Sávio and Leo Peracchi. In the 1960s he started to accompany professional performers, such as Elis Regina, Chico Buarque, Trio de Zimbo, Señales De Valle, Trío Jazz de Bossa Nova Tayguara, etc.

At 17 he made good friends with Chico Buarque, with whom he composed one of his first songs Luna Llena. In 1966 he recorded his first LP, O violâo do Toquinho, and a year later, he composed Boca da Noite, together with Paulo Vazolini, which became one of his best known songs.

In 1969 he traveled to Italy with Chico Buarque and they played over 40 concerts. Back in Brasil, he recorded his second LP, Toquinho, which includes his first hit, “Que maravilha,” written with Jorge Benjor.

It was at Buarque’s home where he met Vinicius de Moraes and the renowned poet was very impressed with the young guitarist. Vinicius said: “I have collaborated with excellent musicians like Tom Jobim, but I am petrified with my new colleague: Toquinho is extremely versatile. He performs a waltz like a samba; he is a prodigious person who manages to communicate with all means”.

Toquinho was 33 years younger, but the connection was sensational. In 11 years they recorded 110 songs and they collaborated in over one thousand shows. Brazil and the rest of the world were charmed by this collaboration and productivity. This relationship had its first rewards in august of 1970, with a recording at cafe La Fusa (Buenos Aires), which also included Maria Creuza. The La Fusa LP became a hit worldwide.

Other highlights from Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes are the recording of La pazzia, l’inconscieza, l’allegria (1976), with Ornella Vanoni; the Caneçao (Río de Janeiro) show in 1977, with Tom Jobim, Vinicius, Toquinho and Miúcha, and the show Dez anos de Toquinho e Vinicius, in 1979.

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Artist Profiles: Tania Maria

Tania Maria

Tania Maria Correa Reis, better known as Tania Maria was born May 9, 1948 in São Luís, Maranhão, Brazil.

Tania Maria showed strong signs of musical talent but did not dedicate herself to her craft until the mid 1970s. After playing in nightclubs in Brazil, Maria moved Paris where her career took off.

The turning point in her career came in Washington in 1980, when she met the late Carl Jefferson of Concord Records via guitarist Charlie Byrd. Jefferson decided to send Maria into the studio with the Latin Jazz vibraphonist, Cal Tjader, as producer. The result was her critically acclaimed American debut, Piquant, released by Concord in 1981.

Since the mid-80?s, Maria has become an international star and one of the most popular Brazilian musicians of her time. Though she is best known for her fiery interpretations of Brazilian, Afro-Latin, and Pop music, Maria is a talented improviser, often harmonizing her piano solos with her voice. Her versatility, displayed on all twenty-one of her albums, has made her popular with fans of every genre.

In 2002, Tania Maria’s stint at The Blue Note with her Viva Brazil Quartet resulted in Live at the Blue Note, her most recent live recording to date.

Intimidade was released in June 2006 on Blue Note Records. It is an energetic display of Brazilian and world music highlighted by her trademark silky smooth vocal stylings that keep her fan base strong.

Discography:

Apresentamos (Continental, 1969)
Olha Quem Chega (Odeon, 1971)
Via Brasil (Sunny Side, 1977)
Via Brasil, Vol. 2 (Sunny Side, 1977)
Live (Accord, 1979)
Piquant (Concord, 1980)
Taurus (Concord, 1981)
Come with Me (Concord, 1983)
Love Explosion (Concord, 1984)
The Real Tania Maria: Wild! (Concord, 1984)
Made in New York (EMI, 1985)
Forbidden Colors (Capitol, 1988)
Bela Vista (Blue Note, 1990)
Lady from Brazil (EMI, 1986)
Outrageous (Concord, 1993)
The Best of Tania Maria (Blue Note, 1993)
No Comment (TKM, 1995)
Bluesilian (TKM, 1995)
Europe (TKM, 1997)
Viva Brazil (Concord Records, 2000)
Happiness (Recall Records UK, 2002)
Tania Maria Live at the Blue Note (Concord)
Outrageously Wild (Concord, 2003)
Olha Quem Chega (reissue) (Import, 2004)
Tania Maria in Copenhagen, with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (Stunt, 2005)
Intimidade (Blue Note, 2005)
Brazil with My Soul (Universal, 2005)
Tempo (with Eddie Gómez) (Naïve Records, 2011)
Canto (Naïve Records, 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Seu Jorge

Seu Jorge

Jorge Mário da Silva, better known as Seu Jorge (Mister Jorge) was born June 8, 1970 in Belford Roxo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Jorge became Knockout Ned in the cult movie City of God. Jorge had extensive personal experience of the world depicted in the film. His childhood in the favelas of Rio left him with a formidable tenacity and a political commitment that has lasted to this day. He lived on the street and taught himself to play guitar, doing odd jobs to scrape a living. But then he was taken on by a thereat company and, through acting, got rid of of the ghosts of his past once and for all.

In the mid-1990s, he formed a group called Farofa Carioca, whose infectious, pop samba soon became popular in Rio. After a series of concerts, they recorded a single album and the charismatic charmer Jorge became the talk of the Cidade Maravilhosa.

Feeling a little crowded in the group, he began a solo career with an album produced by Mario Caldato (Beastie Boys): Samba Esporte Fino. Released to critical acclaim, it became the 1999 album of the year in Brazil. But it was the cinema and Fernando Meirelles that really made Seu Jorge a household name: his tailored role in Cidade de Deus (City of God) rocketed him to national stardom.

Not content with his newfound celebrity in Brazil, in winter of 2004, he worked on a major Disney production directed by Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums), starring Bill Murray, Angelica Houston and Willem Dafoe. The film, The Life Aquatic, was released at the beginning of 2005.

Taking a break between Brazilian art film-making and Hollywood, Jorge went to France to recharge his batteries and made a new solo album, Cru. Produced by Gringo da Parada (one of the founders of Favela Chic) for his new label Fla Flu Prod and mixed by Renaud Letang, Cru’s lyrics range from the political commitment of Eu sou Favela to the words of love of Tive Razao, while the sounds include a tense cover of Gainsbourg’s Chatterton, a softer take on Elvis’s Don’t, laying down guitar on Tive Razao and the irony of Mania de Peitao. With its bossa, stripped-down rock and song, Cru is hard to categorize.

Discography

Samba Esporte Fino (Regata Musica, 2001)
Cru (Naive, 2005)
The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions (Hollywood Records, 2005)
América Brasil O Disco (EMI, 2007)
Seu Jorge & Almaz (Now-Again Records, 2010)
Músicas para Churrasco, Vol. 1 (Cafuné, 2011)
Carolina: Deluxe Edition (2014)
Músicas para Churrasco, Vol. 2 (Cafuné, 2015)

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Artist Profiles: Sergio Mendes

Sergio Mendes – Photo by Mizo

Sergio Santos Mendes was born in Niteroi, Brazil, February 11th, 1941. His father was a medical doctor. Mendes attended the local conservatory with hopes of becoming a classical pianist. As his interest in jazz grew, he started playing in nightclubs in the late-1950s just as bossa nova, a jazz-inflected derivative of samba, was taking off. Mendes played with Antonio Carlos Jobim (regarded as a mentor), and many U.S. jazz musicians who toured Brazil.

Mendes formed the Sexteto Bossa Rio and recorded Dance Moderno in 1961. Touring Europe and the United States, Mendes recorded albums with Cannonball Adderly and Herbie Mann and played Carnegie Hall. Mendes moved to the United States in 1964 and recorded two albums under the Brasil ’65 group name with Capitol Records and Atlantic Records.

When sales were slow, he replaced his Brazilian born vocalist Wanda da Sah with the unique voice of Chicago native Lani Hall (who learned Mendes’ Portuguese material phonetically).

In 1966, Sergio Mendes and his group were signed to a record deal by Herb Alpert, whose enthusiastic response led to immediate success. Mixing Brazilian, jazz and American popular styles, Brasil ’66 became known for its fresh, innovative sound. While Mendes was the lively pianist, arranger, producer and musical director, it was American vocalist Lani Hall (who would later marry Herb Alpert) who gave the group the special touch that ensured their success on the pop music charts. Lani is equally comfortable singing in English, Spanish and Portuguese, although you’d never know it from the way she performs all of her songs with the ease of a native.

After Herb Alpert’s A&M label released the first Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 album, it ultimately went platinum based largely on the success of the single “Mais Que Nada” and the personal support of Alpert, with whom Mendes toured regularly.

The original Brasil ’66 lineup, as recorded on the first three A&M albums, consisted of Mendes on piano and keyboards, Lani Hall and Janis Hansen on vocals, Jose Soares on Latin percussion, Bob Matthews on bass and Joao Palma on drums, Tijuana Brass guitarist John Pisano played guitar starting with Equinox.

Starting with Fool on the Hill, the Brasil ’66 lineup would include Mendes, Lani Hall and vocalist Karen Phillips, with a completely new rhythm section consisting of Sebastiao Neto, Dom Um Romao, Rubens Bassini and Oscar Castro Neves. Stillness would be Lani’s final album with Brasil ’66, leaving to record her first solo project in 1972, Sun Down Lady.

Even though his early singles with Brasil ’66 (most notably Mas Que Nada) met with some success, Mendes reached mainstream prominence when he performed the Oscar nominated Burt Bacharach/Hal David song “The Look of Love” on the Academy Awards telecast in March 1968. Brasil ’66’s version of the song quickly shot into the top 10, eclipsing Dusty Springfield’s version from the soundtrack of the movie, and Mendes spent the rest of 1968 enjoying consecutive top 10 and top 20 hits with his follow-up singles, “The Fool on the Hill” and “Scarborough Fair.”

Although he continued to enjoy adult contemporary chart successes with Brasil ’66 through 1971, he would not experience the mainstream chart hits he enjoyed in 1968 until his comeback album in 1983 generated the biggest single of his career, “Never Gonna Let You Go.” However, from 1968 on, Mendes was one of the most popular Brazilian stars in the world, enjoying immense popularity worldwide and performing in venues as varied as stadium arenas and the White House, where he gave concerts for both President Johnson and President Nixon.

Mendes’ career in the United States slowed down in the mid-1970s, but he remained very popular in South America and Japan. His two albums with Bell Records in 1973 and 1974, followed by several for Elektra from 1975 on, found Mendes continuing to combine the best in American pop music and post-Bossa writers of his native Brazil, while forging new directions in soul with collaborators like Stevie Wonder, who wrote Mendes’ R&B-influenced minor hit, “The Real Thing.”

In 1983, he rejoined Alpert’s A&M records and enjoyed huge success with a self-titled album and several follow-up albums, all of which received considerable adult contemporary airplay with charting singles. By the time Mendes released his Grammy-winning Elektra album Brasileiro in 1992, he was one of the leading artists in the area of pop-inflected Brazilian jazz.

The late-1990s lounge music revival brought retrospection and respect to Mendes’ body of work, particularly the classic Brasil ’66 albums.

In 2006, Concord Records and Starbucks Hear Music co-released Timeless. Produced by and featuring will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, Timeless is a wholly original blend of music. Will and Sergio brought in the Black Eyed Peas, one of hip-hop’s leading artists, and also recruited some of pop music’s biggest artists, each a Sergio fan, to contribute to various tracks, including Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, india.arie, Black Thought of The Roots, John Legend, Chali 2na of Jurassic 5, Jill Scott, and Q-Tip, among others.

Sergio describes Timeless, recorded in Brazil and Los Angeles, as a “. . .wonderful marriage of rhythms, because it?s all African rhythms and haunting melodies. The same common denominator that brought the samba to Brazil and brought jazz to America.”

Discography:

Dance Moderno (Philips, 1960)
Cannonball’s Bossa Nova (Riverside/Capitol Records, 1962)
Você Ainda Não Ouviu Nada! (Philips, 1963)
The Swinger from Rio (Atlantic, 1964)
In Person at El Matador (Atlantic, 1965)
Brasil ’65 (Capitol, 1965)
The Great Arrival (Atlantic, 1966)
Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 (A&M, 1966)
Equinox (A&M, 1967)
Quiet Nights (Philips, 1967)
The Beat of Brazil (Atlantic, 1967)
Look Around (A&M, 1968)
Fool on the Hill (A&M, 1968)
Sergio Mendes’ Favorite Things (Atlantic, 1968)
Crystal Illusions (A&M, 1969)
Ye-Me-Lê (A&M, 1969)
Live at the Expo (A&M, 1970)
Stillness (A&M, 1970)
País Tropical (A&M, 1971)
Four Sider (A&M, 1972)
Primal Roots (A&M, 1972)
In Concert (A&M, 1973)
Love Music (Bell, 1973)
Vintage 74 (Bell, 1974)
Sérgio Mendes (Elektra, 1975)
Homecooking (Elektra, 1976)
Sergio Mendes and the New Brasil ’77 (Elektra, 1977)
Pelé (Atlantic, 1977)
Brasil ’88 (Elektra, 1978)
Alegria (WEA, 1979)
Magic Lady (Elektra, 1979)
Sérgio Mendes (A&M, 1983)
Confetti (A&M, 1984)
Brasil ’86 (A&M, 1986)
Arara (A&M, 1989)
Brasileiro (Elektra, 1992)
Oceano (Verve, 1996)
Timeless (Concord, 2006)
Encanto (Concord, 2008)
Bom Tempo (Concord, 2010)
Magic (Okeh, 2014)

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Artist Profiles: Selma Reis

Selma Reis

Selma Reis was born August 24, 1960. She was a Brazilian actress and singer. Selma Reis was raised in São Gonçalo, a small city near Niterói in Rio de Janeiro. Her passion for music began at a young age when her family would regularly go to “rodas seresteiras” and spend the night singing. Selma got more and more involved with the fascinating world of voices through her active participation in the “rodas seresteiras”.

It wasn’t until after university, and Reis took a three year trip outside of Brazil, that her life changed dramatically. She went to live in Nantes, France where she took music courses and studied literature for two years. Whenever she had the opportunity, she went to Paris to attend seminars on vocal technique.

In 1987 she recorded “Selma Reis”, her first independent disc. What was once a dream to Reis had now become reality. Her new work was a success. In 1990 she released another self-titled independent disk and in 1991 the CD, “Só dói quando eu Rio”.

A 1993 a third self titled, “Selma Reis” CD was recorded in London with arrangements by Grahaam Presket, who worked with Paul McCartney and Elton John. This was a landmark in her career. Soon after, in 1995, she did “Todo Sentimento”, another success. In the year 1998 came the CD, “Achados e Perdidos” where she sang songs of Gonzaguinha.

The album Ares de Havana (The Air Of Havana) contains new readings of standards from the 1940s and upwards, from some of the greatest Caribbean composers. From Ignacio Villa, known as Bola de Nieve – deceased in 1962, leaving an important heritage to the universal song – there is “Ay Amor”. Velas Records produced and released Are de Havana.

The album also featured Beny Moré’s “Dolor y Perdon” and “My Amor Fugaz”. Other songs included: “Drume Negrita” (recorded by Caetano Veloso as well as “Ay Amor”)by Ernesto Grenet; the rumba “Babalu” from Margarida Lecuona, composer Ernesto Lecuona’s sister.

This nostalgia gave room to four more songs: “Para Vivir” (from Pablo Milanés) and “Oh, Melancolia” (from Silvio Rodriguez) are from composers of the New Cuban Ballad’s movement (Nova Trova Cubana. “Espuma y Arena”, from Pedro Luís Ferrer, and “Sembrando Para Ti” are among the others.

Ares de Havana was recorded in EGREM’s studio, in Havana, in only one week although Selma spent one month in Cuba preparing for the project. Within the thirty days that she was in Cuba, Selma learned Spanish, studied the song’s words, met with the other musicians, recorded the vocals, had the pictures for the cover taken by Angel Alderete and recorded the videoclip for “Ay amor,” at Havana’s tourist spots.

Selma herself said: “I was very impressed by the quality of the artistic compositions in Cuba. I confess that it was a shock for me, for I only knew of Bola de Nieve, Pablo Milanés and something from Silvio Rodriguez. Today I know that Cuban music is as superior to the Brazilian in terms of harmony and creativity, just loosing in diversity of rhythm, where ours is unbeatable“.

Selma Reis died December 19, 2015

Discography:

Selma Reis (Philips 1990)
Só Dói Quando Eu Rio (Philips 1991)
Selma Reis (Philips, 1993)
Todo Sentimento (Warner Music Brasil, 1995)
Canta Gonzaga Jr. (Velas, 1996
Ares de Havana – The Air Of Havana (Velas Records VLS 2002-2 2000)
Todo Sentimento (Albatroz, 2004)
Sagrado (Deckdisc, 2007)

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Artist Profiles: Sebastião Tapajós

Sebastião Tapajós

Sebastião Tapajós was baptized with Amazon water. He was born in 1944 on his Father’s boat, close to the town of Santarem, where the Rio Tapajós flows into the Amazon. Very early he started playing Choros and Boleros on the guitar. Later he was trained in classical guitar playing in the conservatories of Belem and Rio.

In 1964 Tapajós traveled to Lisbon (Portugal) to continue his studies, and from there he went to Madrid (Spain), studying with Emilio Pujol. During that period he started to perform throughout Europe.

Tapajós returned to Brazil, residing in Belem first and later in Rio de Janeiro. In Rio his classical studies mingled with the influences of the Música Popular, the Samba and the Bossa Nova. Since 1973 he’s toured Europe and Japan several times, appearing in TV shows and receiving the German Critics Award for his lifetime achievements as a musician. As a composer and arranger he participated in many Brazilian productions and he recorded more than 30 albums during the years. Sebastião Tapajós is known in Europe as one of the greatest living Brazilian Guitarists

Discography:

Apresentando Sebastião Tapajós e Seu Conjunto (1963)
O Violão e…Tapajós (1968)
Sebastiao Tapajos + Pedro dos Santos (1972)
Guitarra Fantástica (1976)
Violão & Amigos (1979)
Guitarra Criolla (1982)
Zimbo Convida Sebastião Tapajós (1982)
Maurício Einhorn & Sebastião Tapajós (1984)
Visões Do Nordeste (1986)
Painel (1986)
Villa-Lobos (1987)
Lado a Lado, with Gilson Peranzzetta (1988)
Terra Brasis (1989)
Brasilidade, with João Cortez (1989)
Reflections, with Gilson Peranzzetta (1990)
Instrumental No Ccbb, with Gilson Peranzzetta, Maurício Einhorn and Paulinho Nogueira (1993)
Amazônia Brasileira, with Nilson Chaves (1997)
Ontem e Sempre (1997)
Afinidades, with Gilson Peranzzetta (1997)
Da Minha Terra, with Jane Duboc (1998)
Acorde Violão (2001)
Do Meu Gosto (2001)
Solos do Brasil (2001)
Choros e Valsas do Pará (2002)
Cristina Caetano interpreta Sebastião Tapajós & Parceiros (2010)
Tempo de Espera (2010)
Conversa de Violões, with Sérgio Abalos (2011)
Cordas do Tapajós, with Sérgio Abalos (2011)
Suíte das Amazonas – (2012)
Painel (Remasterização) (2012)
Da Lapa ao Mascote (2013)
Aos da Guitarrada (2013)
Violões do Pará, with Salomão Habib (2014)

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Artist Profiles: Jovino Santos Neto

Jovino Santos Neto in 2012 – Photo by Daniel Sheehan

Pianist, flutist, and composer Jovino Santos Neto was born September 18, 1954 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Studying classical piano from the age of 12, Jovino Santos Neto moved to Beatles and Rolling Stones-influenced pop by his 15th birthday. He began to focus on jazz while studying biology at McGill University in Montreal. Invited to tour Brazil with Hermeto Pascoal in 1977, Santos Neto has remained an important part of the Brazilian multi-instrumentalist’s band for 15 years, co-producing six albums, including Festa dos Deuses, which received a Sharp Prize as Best instrumental Album in 1992, and archiving thousands of Pascoal’s compositions.

Santos Neto continues to expand on his world music-influenced vocabulary. He built on his knowledge of Brazilian music during a stint with Airto Moreira and Flora Purim’s group, Fourth World, from 1993 until 1997. He also has worked with such artists as Mike Marshall, Richard Boukas, Celso Machado and Chitravina N. Ravikiran.

He toured Europe in 1994 with Swiss cellist David Pezzoti. Santos Neto’s 1997 debut solo album, Caboclo, was followed by Ao Vivo em Olympia in 2000 and by Canto do Rio in 2003. Canto do Rio was commissioned by Chamber Music America’s New Works program and was nominated for a 2004 Latin Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. He also received commissions by the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Jack Straw Foundation, Seattle Arts Commission, Artist Trust and Meet the Composer. Jovino was the recipient of a Golden Ear Award as the Best Jazz Instrumentalist of the Pacific Northwest in 2004.

He relocated to Seattle, in the United States, in 1993 after performing on Sergio Mendes’s Grammy award-winning world music album, Brasileiro. Santos Neto studied conducting at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, where he continues to teach piano, composition, and jazz ensemble. He gives lectures and workshops on Brazilian music worldwide and continues to collaborate with his long time mentor Hermeto Pascoal as the music director of the Hermeto Pascoal Big Band.

He is a member of the IAJE, Chamber Music America, National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (LARAS) and the Seattle Composers Alliance.

Discography

Caboclo (1997)
Ao Vivo em Olympia (2000)
Balaio (Malandro, 2001)
Canto do Rio (2003)
Serenata, with Mike Marshall (2003)
Brazil Duets with Mike Marshall (2005)
Roda Carioca (Adventure Music, 2006)
Alma do Nordeste (Adventure Music, 2008)
Veja o Som (Adventure Music, 2010)
Current (2011)
Guris (Adventure Music, 2017)

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Artist Profiles: Rosa Passos

Rosa Passos

In her native Brazil, Rosa Passos is known and loved as “a feminine Joao Gilberto.” For a singer/songwriter who carries the soulful cool of bossa nova into a new age, there can be no higher compliment. Mingling the classics of Gilberto, Jobim, Barroso and other masters of Brazilian song with her own enchanting works, Passos sings in a sweet, warm, totally-in-tune voice. That voice and that style, which Brazilian fans have known for years, are pleasures international audiences are now getting to know a little better.

Rosa Passos grew up surrounded by music in the city of Salvador, in the Brazilian state of Bahia. Inspired by Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim – the godfathers of bossa nova – she switched from piano to guitar and began writing her own material as a teenager. Passos’s songs (written with her longtime lyricist Fernando de Oliveira) appeared on her first recording in 1979. After taking several years off to devote herself to her husband and children, she returned to performing and recording in 1985, jump-starting a career that has been on the upswing ever since.

Especially since her American debut in 1996 (at the invitation of Oscar Castro Neves) with a sensational performance in a “Jazz at the Bowl” concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Rosa Passos has developed an ever-growing international following. Also in 1996, the singer/songwriter performed in Japan for the first time with saxophonist Sadao Watanabe, which led to successful appearances in Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Denmar, Norway and Sweden, as well as Colombia, Cub, Uruguay and the U.S.

In the years since, Passos has toured Japan five times, collaborated with Ivan Lins and Chucho Valdes in a memorable Cubadisco show in Havana, and wowed a packed crowd at New York’s Lincoln Center for a Tribute to Elis Regina show. In 1999, she was invited to perform during the 50th anniversary celebration of German democracy, joining Paquito D’Rivera and the WDR Big Band for shows in Bonn and Cologne that featured her own songs and classic Brazilian tunes. The same year, she performed at the Jazz Festival Bern.

In Brazil, where she has built an impressive catalogue of recordings, Rosa Passos has been one of the stars of producer Almir Chediak’s “Words and Melody” project, a series of recordings honoring the legacies of the great Brazilian songwriters. Her discs of the songs of Jobim and Ary Barroso were instant hits, in Brazil and internationally, featuring distinctive, revelatory new interpretations of such worldwide hits as Barroso’s “Aquarela do Brasil” and Jobim’s “Desafinado,” “Samba de Uma Nota So” (One Note Samba) and “Garota de Ipanema” (The Girl From Ipanema).

Sony Classical/Odyssey signed Rosa Passos in 2004. In 2006, Rosa Passos’ first solo acoustic recording came out on Telarc. Rosa captures the essence of this extraordinary artist with nothing more than her voice and her acoustic guitar. The album is her first solo acoustic project since she began recording nearly three decades ago. “I think this is the kind of work every artist should make,” says Passos. “It tells a lot about my artistic personality. I have recorded a variety of albums, but not a solo one. I realized that this was the right moment to do it. I believe I achieved my professional maturity, so this was the moment to make my solo flight.”

In keeping with this vision of a personal musical statement, Passos arranged all fifteen of the tracks on Rosa. Six of the songs are collaborations between Passos and various lyricist friends, and the remaining nine are penned by a variety of Latin songwriters, including Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Donate, Augusto Mesquita and others. “I’m responsible for the musical part of the composing process,” says Passos. “I don’t write the lyrics. Fortunately, I can count on wonderful poets, friends of mine who share with me the same thoughts and feelings about music.”

The set opens with Passos’ unaccompanied, crystal clear voice singing “Duas Contas,” followed immediately by the brief but equally stirring Antonio Jobim/Vinicius de Morales piece, “Eu Nao Existo Voce.” Flowing effortlessly from these opening tracks is “Sutilezas,” a whimsical composition penned by Passos and lyricist Sergio Naturezas. The second half of the album gives more room to Passes’ songwriting, with the lighthearted “Demasiado Blue” (co-written with Fernando de Oliveira). Passos’ subtly complex fingerpicking here underscores a vocal line that alternates between easygoing and earnest. Likewise, “Desilusion” (co-written with Spanish singer Santiago Auseron) showcases vocal dynamics that evoke a range of emotions in a single track Passos alternates effortlessly between the high and low ends of the vocal spectrum on “Detalhe” (a second piece co-authored by Oliveira), yet never strains in either direction.

But it’s her guitar work rather than her vocals that drives “Fusion,” a piece that requires rhythmically complex fretwork. “Inverno,” the closing track co-written by Passes and Walmir Palma, is a midtempo, upbeat piece that sets vocal and guitar work in near seamless counterpoint. The occasional echo effect in the vocal track sets up a subtle chorus effect that accentuates Passes’ silky vocal style.

Discography

Recriação (1979)
Amorosa (1988)
Curare (1991)
Festa (1993)
Pano Pra Manga (1996)
Letra & Música – Ary Barroso, with Lula Galvao (1997)
O melhor de Rosa Passos (1997)
Especial Tom Jobim (1998)
Rosa Passos Canta Antonio Carlos Jobim – 40 Anos de Bossa Nova (1998)
Morada do Samba (1999)
Rosa Passos Canta Caymmi (2000)
Me and My Heart (2001)
Eu e Meu Coração (2003)
Azul (2002)
Entre Amigos, with Ron Carter (Chesky, 2003)
Amorosa (Sony Classical, 2004)
Rosa Por Rosa (2005)
Rosa (Telarc, 2006)
Romance (Telarc, 2008)
É Luxo Só (2011)
Samba dobrado (2013)
Rosa Passos canta Ary, Tom e Caymmi (Biscoito Fino, 2015)

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Artist Profiles: Rubem Dantas

Rubem Dantas

Rubem Dantas was born into a musical family in Salvador de Bahia. His earliest exposure to music was studying piano with his mother. His interest soon turned to percussion and his journey took him on a path that would have him mentioned in the same breath as all the great maestros. It was with Vahindo do Gantois, whom Rubem considers his master, where it all began, playing some of the most important festivals in Brazil.

In 1977 his move to Madrid afforded him the opportunity to play with other wonderful musicians and be in the middle of the growing new flamenco movement. Pedro Ruy Blas invited Rubem to join the group, Dolores, and it was in that group where he met Jesus Pardo, Alaro Yebenes and Jorge Pardo.

During this time he crossed paths with guitar legend, Paco de Lucia. The two formed what was one of the most influential and innovative new flamenco bands in the world. They toured extensively with Carles Benavent, Ramon de Algeciras, Joaquin Grilo, Duquende, Jorge Pardo and Jose Bandera. While in Peru, Rubem discovered the native percussion instrument, the cajon. He felt it could add a new dimension to the already pioneering flamenco sound he was helping create.

Rubem Dantas is one of the most in-demand musicians anywhere and his credits seem endless, recording or performing with artists like Vince Mendoza, Gilberto Gil, Paquito D’Rivera and Chick Corea and Touchstone. He currently lives in Granada, Spain.

Discography:

Festejo (Rubem Dantas Productions, 2007)

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Artist Profiles: Revista do Samba

Revista do Samba

Revista do Samba is based in São Paulo and was formed in 1999. Since then, the trio, with Leticia Coura, Beto Bianchi and Vitor da Trindade, has been performing throughout Brazil and Europe.

The music arose out of research into repertoire, which extended into the origins of samba and an exploration of how sambas written in the 1920s and 1930s are still fresh in the minds of so many Brazilians and are still a part of the ‘repertoire’ of ordinary people, people who were never alive when samba was everywhere in Brazil.

Revista do Samba do samba returns to the time when samba was the main cultural expression of the Brazilian people and brings it up to the moment. The trio performs the songs of the greatest of the samba composers. The songs are part of the personal history of every Brazilian – familiar to everyone.

The musicians recorded the first album of the group, produced by Wolfang Loos, for the label Traumton of Berlin, released in September 2002. From their own repertoires, Coura, Bianchi and da Trindade have made a collection of beautiful old songs for this first CD. Some, incredibly, were never a national success – but are remembered generations later.

In performance, the trio plays with humor – with each other and with the audience. Samba is theatrical´. It depends on – and generates a buzz between the stage and the floor. The lyrics and the turns of the songs are often funny, as is felt by anyone listening, no matter of what nationality. The melodies are somehow light and immediate – yet distant and haunting.

With the lightest of modern sensibilities, Revista do Samba revive the feeling of what samba was like at its height, both live and on album.

Discography:

Revista do Samba (Traumton Records, 2004)
Outras Bossas (Traumton Records, 2005
Revista Bixiga Oficina do Samba (Tratore, 2006)
Hortensia du samba, with Tante Hortense (Les Disques Bien, 2017)

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