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32 Records maintain their unique level of quality, and responsiveness, with this single-disc reissue of percussionist/composer Dom Um Romao’s complete Muse recordings, two albums from 1973 that determined the locus of bossa -tinged jazz, the nuyorican Latin movement, the Brazilian “corner club” sound, and Brazilian roots music, namely batucada.
Gene Paul’s customary naturalistic remastering allows full expression of the electronic and acoustic layered textures. Both albums, particularly the eponymous debut, move like a dream. The scant vocals provoke humorously from a distance or exhale breathily from the side (both, on “Shake”.) There are no forced solo spots - Joe Beck’s wah-wah guitar on “Dom’s Tune” at some point progresses from isolated notes to funky moist strumming, but after hearing Dom’s tune four times, I still can’t place the exact moment.
Only 5 of the 13 tracks were composed by Dom Um Romao, the aforementioned “Dom’s Tune”, three rhythm workouts, and “Family Talk”, the melody of which cannot be identified with a primary color. This leaves writing space for some classic tunes by Milton Nascimento, Edu Lobo, and Sivuca, as well as those by the keyboardist Dom Salvador, whose thoughtful melodies and natural funk are such highlights of the second album, which was recorded at the same sessions as the first and was apparently intended as a more rhythmically-vital, yet still iconoclastic, extension of Dom Um Romao ’s baroque Brazilian cool.
Tracks :Dom Um Romao:Dom’s Tune / Cinnamon Flower (Cravo E Canela) / Family Talk / Ponteio / Braun-Blek-Blu / Adeus Maria Fulo;Spirit of the Times:Shake (Ginga Gingou) / Wait On The Corner / Lamento Negro / Highway / The Angels / The Salvation Army / Kitchen (Cosinha).
Musicians :Dom Um Romao - drums, percussion / Sivuca - organ, piano, guitar / Jerry Dodgion - alto sax, flute / Mauricio Smith - tenor sax, soprano sax, flute / Lloyd McNeil - flute / William Campbell Jr. - trumpet / Jimmy Bossey - trombone / Joe Beck - electric guitar / Amauri Tristao - acoustic guitar / Joao Donato - harpsichord, piano / Dom Salvador - electric piano, piano / Richard Kimball - synthesizer / Stanley Clarke - bass / Frank Tusa - bass / Eric Gravatt - congas / Portintio - misc. percussion.
Track Listing: Dom's Tune, Cravo E Canela, Family Talk, Ponteio, Braun-Blek-Blu, Adeus Maria Fulo, Ginga Gingou, Wait on the Corner, Lamento Negro, Highway, The Angels, The Salvation Army, Cosinha
Personnel: Dom Um Romao- percussion & drums, Sivuca- organ, piano & guitar, Jerry Dodgion- alto sax & flute, Mauricio Smith- woodwinds, Lloyd McNeil- flute, William Campbell Jr.- trumpet, Jimmy Bossey- trombone, Joe Beck- guitar, Amauri Tristao- acoustic guitar, Joao Donato- harpsichord & piano, Dom Salvador- electric piano & piano, Richard Kimball- synthesizer, Stanley Clarke- bass, Frank Tusa- bass, Eric Gravatt- congas, Portintio- various percussion
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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