In 1973, Eumir Deodato was riding high upon the GRAMMY® Award-winning success of "Also Sprach Zarathurstra (Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey)," the Brazilian keyboardist's jazz-rock fusion take on Richard Strauss' classic, from his previous release Prelude (CTI, 1972).
Deodato's next move, Os Catedráticos 73 doesn't mess with that successful formula but throws a lot more of his own keyboard playing on top. For its rhythm tracks, Deodato recorded a Brazilian rhythm machine featuring himself with bassist Sergio Barroso, percussion master Orlandivo, and drummer Ivan Conti ('Mamão' ) on loan from fusion pioneers Azymuth. Then, he worked with session masters from the CTI Records' house band in New York to shape and place the horns in and on these rhythm arrangements, and crowned it all with his own electric keyboard as the single solo voice on top.
No horn or guitar solos, only keyboard solos, is the unique and best part of Os Catedráticos 73: In this fertile Brazilian-jazz hybrid context, Deodato sounds intent on growing classic '70s soul-jazz keyboard jam: the soul-jazz organ sound of Brother Jack McDuff, but surrounded by the cool, nurturing grooves of Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66.
This purpose sounds quite evident in "Rodando Por Ai (Rudy's)," a Deodato original that funks and chunks along like a Quincy Jones 1970s television theme with keyboards coloring in thick and bright lines and horns shading and blending in around their edges. Horns float "Passarinho Diferente (The Byrd)" skyward like it was a glowing brass balloon from which Deodato pours out glistening, liquid keyboard notes. "The Byrd" pairs up with "Puma Branco (The White Puma)," a lush Brazilian landscape strolled and prowled by powerful and toothsome horns. "Menina (Boy Meets Girl)" opens under echoes of the timeless ballad "Fly Me to the Moon" until the rhythm section pries the lid off the tempo with a loping disco beat.
When first released, "Arranha Ceu (Skyscrapers)," the sonic sister to Deodato's "Zarathustra" monster, was this set's biggest hit. It glides upon a bass line copped from "Memphis Soul Stew" as its firm yet funky disco-jazz foundation, and then horns open up into a day full of bright and brassy sunlight for Deodato's keyboard solos to prowl through and explore.
"Carlota & Carolina (Carly & Carole)" wraps up Os Catedráticos 73 in a push and pull, electric keyboard tune so blue and sweet it paints a picture of Joe Sample and The Crusaders grooving on the beach in Rio.
Arranha Ceu (Skyscrapers); Flap; Rodando Por Ai (Rudy's); O Jogo (Soccer Game); Atire A 1a Pedra; Puma Branco (The White Puma); Passarinho Diferente (The Bird); Extremo Norte (The Gap); To Fazendo Nada (Down The Hill); Menina (Boy Meets Girl); Carlota & Carolina (Carly & Carole).
Eumir Deodato: leader, piano, RMI electric piano, organ, arranger, conductor; Durval Ferreira, Zé Menezes: guitar; Sergio Barroso: electric bass; Ivan Conti, drums; Bebeto: congas; Hélcio Milito, Orlann Divo: percussion; John Frosk, Marvin Stamm: flugelhorn, trumpet; Phil Bodner: tenor saxophone, flute; Wayne Andre: trombone; Romeo Penque: baritone saxophone, flute.
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