On my first visit to Rio in 1989, with the WBGO Music and Beaches Tour, I went to a music store where you could play a record first to see if you liked it. Someone suggested Marco Pereira's 1987 Circulo das Cordas, on the Brazilian Som Da Gente label, and when I heard that first track Pereira's thrilling, driving "Num Pagode em Planaltina," with its scat-singing introduction and startling use of the "slap" technique I didn't needd to hear any more. I wore the whole record out in the ensuing years, while I hunted for that tune on CD.
And now it's finally here, part of this sparkling collection of solo pieces by Pereira, along with his description of how he developed the "slap" for classical guitar (punching several holes in the soundboard in the process). In fact, he provides interesting insights on each tune: their geographical context within the vast musical riches of Brazil, their personal inspiration, and the diverse rhythms used. For fans of this music who only recognize the samba and the baiao, here's an introduction to the partida alto, frevo, choro, chamame and forro, with technical notes on how they translate to the guitar (note: the printed scores for each piece are also available from gspguitar.com). The blues and bebop are also represented, along with a tribute to soccer.
Pereira, formerly a professor of guitar and functional harmony at the University of Brasilia, has a gift for explaining his songs so clearly that even the non-player can understand their construction. Revelling in their sound, however, requires absolutely no assistance. Original is a bouquet of different colors and moods, some pieces long part of Pereira's repertoire, and others never published or played before. His mastery of the instrument is complete, his melodies beautiful and memorable. While "Num Pagode..." is worth the price of admission all by itself, this CD is full of elegance, joy and light; it's a splendid followup to Valsas Brasilieras.
Track Listing: Tio Boros, Flor das Aguas, Tempo de Futebol, Seu Tonico na Ladeira, Nostalgicas, No. 2, O Choro de Juliana, Sarara, Num Pagode em Planaltina, Estrela da Manha, Bate-coxa, Cantiga, Vadiagem, Chama-me!, Baiao Cansado
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.