Prentiss Riddle: Music

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Na minha Rolleiflex

My bossa nova obsession continues with a terrible and wonderful DVD of a late-seventies reunion of bossa nova stars, Musicalmente with Vinícius de Moraes and friends.

In the 50's and 60's Vinícius de Moraes was a prolific writer and lyricist and frequent collaborator with bossa nova's most important composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim. The 1959 classic Black Orpheus was adapted from one of de Moraes's plays. It was de Moraes and Jobim who according to legend were drinking one evening in Rio when a certain girl from Ipanema walked by and inspired them to write the song of that name (although in fact their songwriting techniques were probably more workmanlike than the story would have us believe).

But at the time of this session for Italian television, de Moraes is prematurely elderly, singing in a wobbly voice behind a leopard-print-covered table while chain-smoking and pouring himself shots of whiskey. His patter is vaguely entertaining (I've discovered that I can follow Italian with Portuguese subtitles far more accurately than either one alone!) but he is not above making Sinatraesque racial jokes about his black bassist. It's his guests who make the show: Miúcha, a young Toquinho playing bossa guitar with classical chops and singing as divinely as de Moraes does hellishly, and above all Tom Jobim.

Jobim, himself more of a composer, arranger and conductor than a performer, is a bit shaky in the vocal department, too, but disarms us with his spare piano and by leading with his song Desafinado, a sad anthem for the musically challenged:

Quando eu vou cantar você não deixa
E sempre vem a mesma queixa
Diz que eu desafino, que eu não sei cantar
Você é tão bonita
Mas toda beleza
Também pode se acabar

(When I start to sing you don't let me
It's always the same complaint
You say that I'm out of tune and don't know how to sing
You are so beautiful
But all beauty also comes to an end)

"Os desafinados também têm um coração" -- a reminder to forgive a couple of old songwriting geniuses with more in their hearts than in their vocal chords.

(And before I forget: George has been obsessing about bossa nova lately, too, and passes along a bunch of bossa nova links.)

music 2003.10.08 link


Hi Prentiss!
Two CDs worth checking out, both recently reissued, are Vinicius de Moraes' LIVE IN BUENOS AIRES (recorded in 1970, w/ Toquinho and Maria Creuza) and the follow up DAYS IN MAR DEL PLATA (from 1971, again w/ Toquinho, but this time with Maria Bethania on vocals). Both recorded live at the club la Fusa in Argentina. Both delightful. While waiting patiently for the next Bebel Gilberto CD, I've enjoyed the new one from Cibelle. Also highly recommended is Suba's SAO PAOLO CONFESSIONS if you've not heard that.

Georg Patterson [georg cxe nc punkto rr punkto com] • 2003.10.09
Thank for the tips, Georg and (elsewhere) George!

I just picked up Suba's São Paulo Confessions used and I'm enjoying it. I don't usually go for electronica but maybe I'll get there through the Brazilian back door. Meanwhile for something that seems to me to fall perhaps halfway between Bebel and Suba, I'm enjoying Zuco 103.

In a more traditional bossa jazz vein, I want to hear some more of Ron Carter's recent collaboration with Brazilian singer Rosa Passos, Entre Amigos. I heard just a bit on the radio and it sounded great, although I'm suspicious given that it's on Chesky, an audiophile label which can be utterly dull in content -- just last week I found another Chesky release in the used bin, Ana Caram's Bossa Nova, which was so rote in its delivery that I'm thinking of taking it back to the store.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2003.10.10
I quite like Zuco 103. In a similar vein is GAROTA MODERNA by Nicola Conte (Italian nu-jazz guy) and Rosalia de Souza. Very much in the nova bossa nova style. For a rootsier and more retro experience, you might try PIXINGUINHA, just out from Harmonia Mundi, a collection of tracks recorded between 1929 and 1947 by a legendary Brazilian choro flutist/saxophonist.

georg patterson [georg cxe nc punkto rr punkto com] • 2003.10.11
oi nasi

Beatriz [nao sei] • 2005.08.27
Oi tenhe es rerspode

Beatriz [nao sei] • 2005.08.27
Desafinado was written mockingly. When bossa nova first came out, critics would say that Joao Gilberto was singing out of tune, so Desafinado was written.

Antonio [perforatedtongue cxe yahoo punkto gr] • 2005.11.17
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