Composer/arranger/keyboardist Eumir Deodato is best known for a series of albums on the CTI label, notably Prelude (CTI Records, 1973) and Deodato 2 (CTI Records, 1973). Os Catedraticos 73 dates from the same period, and employs many of the same musicians. It was recorded between Rio de Janeiro and New York, featuring a Brazilian rhythm section including Azymuth drummer Ivan 'Mamão' Conti, percussion master Orlandivo, and bassist Sergio Barroso, while the horn section features some of New York's top brass players.
A longtime favorite with both rare-groove enthusiasts and fans of Latin jazz, Deodato combines the musical sensibility of post-bossa nova Brazilian jazz with North American soul & funk, and the explosive Latin influences of '70s New York. Opening track "Arranha Ceu" (Skyscrapers) is a euphoric dance floor classic, which has reputedly been lighting up clubs for years. A shorter, grittier version than the one which appeared on Deodato 2, propelled by a buoyant bass line and triumphant brass (not to mention the leader's organ): it is not hard to imagine it filling up a dance floor.
While the sound here is not far from that of classic CTI records, there are significant differences. One is the lack of cover material. Prelude had two classical arrangements: the famous disco version of Richard Strauss "Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)" and Claude Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun." Deodato 2 had the Moody Blues' "Nights In White Satin," as well as Maurice Ravel's "Pavane For a Dead Princess" and George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" from the classical side. The lush strings that adorned some of the CTI arrangements are also absent.
So this is a bit grittier sound, although still carefully arranged for a large ensemble. Deodato emphasizes organ more than his trademark electric piano, taking exciting solos on "Flap" and "Rodando Por Ai (Rudy's)" especially. There are also more explicitly Brazilian sounds on offer: "Flap" uses a Latin dance rhythm and "O Jogo (Soccer Game)" is a samba with Brazilian percussion. An album that feels like a truer expression of Deodato's music than the glossier productions he is known for, Os Catedraticos 73 has never been broadly available: until now there had been no British or U.S. release.
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.