This is a listing of miscellaneous albums and artists under the letter "L".
If an artist or album you like is not reviewed here, please feel free
to contact me and make a suggestion.
Some of the finest and most dazzlingly pure choro instrumentals by two masters of the genre, flautist Benedicto Lacerda and multi-instrumentalist Alfredo Da Rocha Viana Filho, better known as Pixinguinha. This album of vintage recordings was first compiled in 1966, reviving classic melodies such as "1 x 0," "Naquele Tempo" and "Andre De Zapato Novo" for a generation that had since moved on to the charms of bossa nova and the pop-jazz hybrids of MPB. The original allure of these zippy tunes comes through loud and clear, though -- these tracks were recorded between 1946-50 (though many of the compositions are much older) and feature both performers at the peak of their powers. There's plenty of overlap between this disc and other Pixinguinha retrospectives, but there's something nice about hearing the music as it was first revisited by the Brazilians of the bossa nova era. Also, this is a very strong presentation, with a lean, compact selection of songs that wastes no time bringing out the best music the style has to offer. Highly recommended!
A cheapo reissue collection that's a fine introduction to this latter-day velha guarda romantic singer. Lafayette, who was born in 1937, started her career as an amateur on regional radio programs, took up the torch passed on by classic "radio singer" balladeers such as Vincente Celestino and Dalva De Oliveira, and kept the old-style samba-cancao tradition alive well into the 1970s. I'm not sure when these specific tracks were recorded; it could have been anywhere in her career from 1960-on, but I suspect from the production values that it's mostly from the late '60s. The style is very slushy and antiquated (more like the pop vocals/samba-cancao crossovers of the 1950s than the classic 1930s/40s sound, and very heavily influenced by Spanish-language boleros)... Still, I liked it a lot, much more than I thought I would. It's corny and over-the-top, but it works for me.
Nubia Lafayette "20 Super Sucessos, v.2" (Sony/Polydisc, 1999)
Nubia Lafayette "20 Super Sucessos, v.3" (Sony/Polydisc, 2002)
Mario Lago/Various Artists "NADA ALEM" (tribute album) (Som Livre, 1991)
Guest performers abound in this heartfelt tribute to velha guarda poet-actor-songwriter Mario Lago, whose professional career began in the 1930s, when samba cancao stars such as Atualfo Alves, Carmen Miranda, Mario Reis and Orlando Silva recorded his early hits. The songs have a very distinctive feel to them; Lago certainly had a "sound," which I suppose could be typified as not-too-lachrymose saudade, a romantic sense of longing and sadness... Although Lago is pictured on the album cover, I don't think he actually performs on the disc -- no matter, with elegant performances by Gal Costa, Paulinho Da Viola, Nelson Goncalves, Ivone Lara and Raphael Rabello, this tribute disc has its share of talent... Most of the arrangements are cheesy, but some are real gems, particularly Costa's reading of the title track, "Nada Alem."
Mario Lago/Various Artists "90 Anos" (Revivendo, 2003)
Dona Ivone Lara - see artist discography
Bossa nova with a playful edge. Poet/songwriter Vinicius De Moraes, sort of a bossa beatnik, is teamed up with actress Odette Lara, who acquits herself quite well in the role of Brazil's Brigitte Bardot. Vinicius' vocals are whisper-y, conversational and penetrating, and Lara's are appropriately lush and sultry -- on duets, their voices don't always mesh, but since they mostly trade off on the songs, it doesn't matter much. Features the tune, "Berimbau", which is credited with helping re-popularize the twangy folk instrument of the same name. Strong arrangements and solid delivery make this one well worth checking out.
There may be a reason why actress Odete Lara is seldom mentioned when the greats of the bossa nova generation are recalled... In all honesty, it may mostly be because she didn't really have all that great a voice. The arrangements are vintage Aloysio Oliveira/Maestro Gaya Elenco label bossa-pop, but all the studio talent assembled behind her couldn't save this album from foundering under the weight of Lara's sluggish, lumpen vocals. It's not exactly awful... it just doesn't measure up that well to all the stellar music that was being recorded in Brazil around the same time.
Brazilian Music - More Letter "L"
Main Brazil Index
World Music Index