This is a listing of miscellaneous albums and artists under the letter "M".
If an artist or album you like is not reviewed here, please feel free
to contact me and make a suggestion.
Gorgeous acoustic music from a Brazilian expatriate now living in Canada... Machado performs his Minas Gerais variant of samba with much of the sprightliness and playful spirit that Gilberto Gil did back in the early '70s, which is no small compliment in my book. I first heard this fellow on a track that had been included on one of Putumayo's recent BRASILEIRO collection... "Origem" stood out like a diamond & I tracked this record down as fast as my little bankbook would let me. The rest of the album is somewhat less magical, but folks who like softer ballads and acoustic sambas will probably enjoy this record as a welcome change of pace. Recommended, with only a little hesitation.
As if often the case with these Brazilian jazz albums, there's not really much of a homegrown samba influence to be heard... Even though the songs covered are include bossa standards and several originals by saxophonist J.T. Mierelles, the feel is straight-up, swinging jazz. Still, as a jazz album, this is pretty creditable... Since bandleader Machado plays drums, there is an Art Blakey-like emphasis on the snares (though less of a "pure" hard jazz style). With him is an all-star cast: Mierelles and Paulo Maura on sax, Tenorio, Jr. on piano, and Moacir Santos writing and arranging the bulk of the album. If you're looking for noteworthy Brazilian jazz albums, this is one of the best.
Slick, busy, somewhat manic modern jazz fusion, Brazilian style. Guitarist Filo Machado is a veteran player who has worked with Alaide Costa, Flora Purim, Joyce, Djavan and others... Nonetheless, I really don't like this style of music, so I may be the wrong person to ask about this album... I suppose some fans of modern jazz might like it; I just found it cluttered and kind of annoying.
Another fascinating, atypical release on this challenging Brazilian indie label. Machado combines a bossa-informed acoustic style with lightly operatic vocals and chamber music orchestration -- the Brazilian equivalent, if you will, of Elvis Costello's Brodsky Quartet outings. For those less inclined towards art songs, her vocals may wear thin after a while, but overall this is a fascinating release, well worth checking out. (Also includes a pair of older German-language Heinrich Heine pieces, and a cover of Caetano Veloso's "Este Amor.")
Brazil's pre-bossa nova pop crooners are largely forgotten nowadays, since the newfangled music was so sexy, and also because much of the pre-bossa stuff was not necessarily top-flight. This 2-CD retrospective is an eye-opener: Tito Madi was a straight-ahead Sinatra-tinged pop crooner who later eased into a bossa tune or two. Fans of Dick Farney will find a kindred spirit in Madi. Plus, the bulk of these songs -- recorded in the 1960s and early '70s -- are quite nice. Madi's voice is even and unabrasive, he never slips into florid or sappy stylizations; likewise, the arrangements are understated and compelling. Definitely worth checking out. Apparently this is part of a larger series of old-school pop vocals and samba cancao reissues... Good luck tracking these discs down, but if I can locate more of them, I'll be sure to keep you posted!
Sidney Magal "Sidney Magal" (Polydor, 1977)
Lavish, outlandish pop in the maudlin "brega" ("schmaltzy") pop ballad style. It's way over the top... and not in a good way. Mostly it just sounds terribly busy and overwrought, bad commercial rock that skirts at the edges of being funky, but is firmly rooted in florid schmaltz. Paulo Coelho and Antonio Carlos are among the more noteworthy songwriters whose material Magal covers.
Tim Maia - see artist discography
Celia Malheiros "Sempre Crescendo" (Sempre Crescendo, 2001)
A Brazilian expatriate living in California, Malheiros recorded this album in Rio, with a slew of top Brazilian jazz talent to back her up. Hermeto Pascoal, Wilson Das Neves and others contribute to this lush set of soft jazz tunes that recall the heyday of '70s MPB-era fusion by the likes of Flora Purim and Tania Maria; although Malheiros doesn't get as swoopy or wild as those foremothers, preferring to stay on the mellow side, she's still in the same ballpark. (Artist website: www.celiamalheiros.com)
Celia Malheiros "Cenario Brasileiro" (2006)
With guest appearance by Joao Bosco...
Brazilian-born guitarist Gui Mallon is an expatriate living in Switzerland; here, he's assembled a top-flight European band for a smooth-jazz set glides nimbly over a solid foundation of Brazilian melody. Rhythmically, this is a very strong set, surprisingly so for a band that seems mostly made up of northern Europeans... It's more "Brazilian" at it's core than you'd imagine, although when the jazz elements kick in, you definitely know it. There's one thing that sinks it for me, though, and that's the prominence placed on the soprano saxophone, an instrument that I generally regard with pure loathing. Still, I was able to listen to this entire album without skipping tracks, etc., so these guys must have been doing something right! If you like smooth jazz that has a little bite to it, then this set is well worth checking out!
The highly distinctive pife is a kind of traditional Amazonian flute that got a big boost in the early '70s when tropicalia superstars Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso worked it into their pop and experimental albums. Carlos Malta's modest ensemble plays a sharply honed, dynamic update of this hyperactive style of pipering, touching on the work of MPB and jazz composers such as Veloso, Edu Lobo, Hermeto Pascoal and Joao do Vale, who all turned at various points to traditional sources for inspiration. Younger new artists such as rockers Pedro Luis and Lenine are also brought into the fold, guesting on a couple of tracks. This mostly instrumental album has a striking sound, but like Andean flute music -- its closest relative -- it can get a little static sounding, and is best taken in small doses. Worth checking out, though!
Mamelo Sound System "Mamelo Sound System" (Ybrazil, 2000)
I haven't heard this one, but apparently it was a big deal, with guest appearances by manguebeat stars Nacao Zumbi and foundational rap legend Afrika Bambaataa; also, singer Paula Lima was in this edition of the band.
Mamelo Sound System "Urbalia" (Ybrazil, ?)
Monotonous, paper-thin pop/rap/tronica, with a glimmer of crunchy, Linkin Park-ish "alt-rock" guitars thrown in from time to time. These Sao Paulo rappers sound like petulant teenagers, while the music mix is so weak and one-dimensional, it's difficult to care about what they are saying, or where the group belongs in the Brazilian musical landscape. It's a real snoozer-oo. Then again, I'm just a grumpy old man, so what do I know? Perhaps if you like lightweight pop-rap, this is simply brilliant. Da bomb, and all that.
Brazilian Music - More Letter "M"
Main Brazil Index
World Music Index