2 disc set - from The Barclay Years 1964-1972 and The Festival Years 1970-1977
Baden Powell was a legendary Brazilian guitarist whom many consider the best of all time. A prodigy at the age of six, classically trained, his powerful sound and personality are unique and instantly recognizable. Unlike the velvety Joao Gilberto, who rode the bossa nova wave, and Tom Jobim, whose guitar technique was just enough to sketch his beautiful songs, there's no hint of pop in Powell. In fact, he left for Brazil for Paris just when the bossa wave was cresting, in 1963, and remained there for the rest of his life. His first recording in France made him a star; he made over fifty more and remains an inspiration.
This is a compilation from those early years, together with performances recorded a decade later. Disc one begins with one of his best-known compositions, "Berimbau," written with Vinicius de Moraes, a memorably haunting melody which has been covered by artists as far-ranging as Kenny Rankin. De Moraes also co-wrote the second track, "Girl from Ipanema," which is renewed here in Powell's hands, losing all of its familiar elevator-music quality. More of his compositons follow, as well as some by other Brazilian masters: Dorival Caymi, Pixiguinha and Aryosso, and a piece by Bach. It's a fascinating, dynamic mix, including tracks where Powell sings, is backed by an orchestra or traditional percussion, and plays solo or with a trio.
Disc two opens with "Xango," an "Afro-samba" that sounds like a soundtrack from a '70s Fellini movie. It's another powerful, intense collection, including Powell's stunning solo rendition of "Round Midnight."
This package is recommended for anyone who loves Brazilian music and masterful guitar. It's a fine sampler that beautifully demonstrates what the fuss over Powell is all about. (And by the way, his full name was Baden Powell de Aquino—he was named after the founder of the Boy Scouts. He died in 2000 at the age of 63, reportedly destroyed by alcohol.)
Baden Powell (guitar) - in solo, small ensemble and orchestral settings
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.
Author of "The Insanity Hoax: Exposing the myth of the mad genius," now in its updated second edition,Dr. J combines her love of jazz and her fascination with psychology, focusing on where they overlap: in celebrating the individual spirit.