This is the second page of miscellaneous albums and artists under the letter "R"
If an artist or album you like is not reviewed here, please feel free
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This CD collects material from two latter-day choro albums recorded by master bandolim player Deo Rian in 1970 and '76, working through classic compositions by Pixinguinha, Ernesto Nazareth, Jacob Do Bandolim and a more modern tune by Paulinho Da Viola. These tracks feature light orchestration, along with Rian's masterful playing -- it's rather genteel music, not unlike a chamber quartet, and you have to be in the right frame of mind to appreciate it... Rian's playing is more expressive and varied than some other performers I've heard doing similar material. For choro enthusiasts, this should be quite a treat!
Deo Rian "Choros De Sempre" (EMI, 1974)
A straight CD reissue of Rian's 1974 album, Choros De Sempre, which features technically impressive performances and some questionable production choices. In general, this seems to be primarily a showcase for some mellow yet flashy mandolin picking, with some unfortunate collisions with more lavish pop-orchestral arrangements. Yet even this is deceptive: the intricate stop-and-start interplay of Rian's bandolim and the string section on "Lamento" is pretty remarkable... (Plus, it's a tune cowritten by Pixinguinha and Vinicius De Moraes!) This verges on cheesiness, but it'll grow on you with repeated listenings.
Inventive funk music that bears a resemblance -- particularly in the vocals -- to soul crooner Tim Maia. '70s songwriter Marku Ribas, however, had a weirder musical bent, with all sorts of freaky instrumental twists that make his music far more intriguing and consistently listenable. I'm not sure exactly when these tracks were recorded; I'd guess late '70s, early '80s. At any rate, as the Brazilian soul scene goes, this is a pretty interesting record. Worth tracking down.
Marku (Ribas) "72/75" (Copacabana)
This disc draws on two albums, Underground, from 1972 and 1975's Marku.
Pery Ribeiro "...Sings Bossa Nova Hits" (EMI, 1979/1999)
At first glance, these two albums are an odd mismatch for a 2-in-1 reissue, but ever so slowly the pairing makes sense. Ribeiro was a bossa-era pop vocalist, with more than a hint of Johnny Mathis candlelight crooning in him. His earlier stuff is perky, bright, and kinda square. Like other Brazilian pop singers who latched onto the bossa sound, Ribeiro was nowhere near as cool as the real deal (i.e. Joao Gilberto), though he's not without his charms. The '63 album is certainly an interesting historical curio, but maybe not so arresting, after, lo, these many years. The second album, from 1979, is pretty awful -- English-language versions of bossa nova oldies, all set to some incredibly static arrangements. All the songs sound the same, and are only mildly compelling. But if you put these two together, you may get a good sense of the guy's career.
Pery Ribero & Leny Andrade "Gemini V: Show Da Boite Porao 73" (Odeon, 1965)
This concert album documents the "Gemini V" concert series, staged in Sao Paulo in 1965 by songwriter Ronaldo Boscoli and impressario Luis Carlos Miele, which turned out to be one of the most popular bossa nova shows of its time. The music is fairly typical of bossa-jazz albums of the time, marked by a fairly plinky trio accompaniment (courtesy of Luiz Carlos Vinhas and Bossa Tres), with a brisk, cabaret-tinged feel to it. Can't say I care much for jazz singer Leny Andrade's husky vocal tone, and her emulation of Ella Fitzgerald is a little too obvious (and ineffective, given the musical limitations). The robust Ribeiro, on the other hand, comes off pretty well in a live, duet-vocals setting -- it pushes him a little further than on solo projects I've heard elsewhere, and the richness of his voice stands out. Again, this is pretty typical of its times, but real jazz fans may find it a bit limited, even if Bossa Tres are a bit more nuanced and harmonically rich than many of their jazz trio contemporaries. Besides... those live medleys always give me a bit of a sweet pain...
Pery Ribero & Leny Andrade "Gemini -- Cinco Anos Depois" (EMI-Odeon, 1972)
A reunion show, marking the fifh anniversary of their well-recieved "Gemini" show...
Blessed with a warm, comforting voice reminiscent of the great Clara Nunes, Ribeiro is one of the new crop of so-called "neo-tropicalistas," blending bouncy pop-rock and reggae into an MPB style that is a bit milder (and less jittery) than the contemporary axe style from Bahia. Ribeiro excels when sticks to simpler arrangements (like on this album's opening track, "Banho Cheiroso," or the calypso-tinged "Mana Chica"), projecting a smiley, exuberant vocal vibe that recalls Nazarene Pereira's best work. However, leter this album strays into more belabored musical terrain -- for the most part it sounds just fine, but you feel such deliberate, cerebral, effort on the part of producer Mazzola that it's difficult to get as swept away by this album as you'd like. The underlying effect is more mechanical than rapturous... which is a pity, since Ribeiro really is a very appealing performer.
Sweet samba from the '70s and early '80s... the same sort of flowery arrangements and big, bright choruses as contemporary records by Beth Carvalho and Clara Nunes. Although Ribeiro may have lacked the visceral ooomph the gals had, he's still pretty sweet. Like the other recent Meus Momentos releases, this 2-CD set collects a couple of earlier best-of discs, and the first CD is punchier than the second. But it's a fab budget-line release -- totally worth checking out!
Late-period bossa nova, with an admixture of the folk-samba style of Dorival Caymmi and the experimental pop of Edu Lobo and Ivan Lins. Apparently these many of these songs were used in a politically-oriented "Cinema Novo" film that Ricardo directed. Nice stuff -- also features some complicated vocal arrangements which would put the Quarteto Em Cy to shame.
An accomplished jazz album, at least by the standards of mid-1960s Brazil. The opening numbers are bouncy and richly rounded, sounding much like Vince Guaraldi's poppy, melodic jazz work; midway through the band gets more aggressive and closer to the clattersome "trio" sound of the bossa-era jazz scene, then the album rounds out with some smoother material, closer in feel to the post-bop studio jazz up North. This short-lived group came out of the remnants of pianist Luiz Carlos Vinhas' Bossa Tres, and its larger incarnation, Gemini V, both popular cabaret acts. When Vinhas left the group, however, they had to come up with a new name, and opted for Rio 3, after recruiting Osmar Milito to fill in as pianist. After gathering some steam on the club scene, they were scooped up by the USA-bound Sergio Mendes, who incoprorated the trio into his band, Bossa Rio. Apparently these tapes, which were made in 1968, lingered in the vaults for three decades, until this belated reissue. It's okay material, more enjoyable than a lot of the bossa trio work that preceded it, though not as substantive as the North American jazz it often emulates. Worth checking out, if you're into the style.
Ritchie "Circular" (CBS, 1985)
Relentlessly perky, blandly produced, disco-y "new wave," very much in keeping with the pop side of early MTV programming (A-Ha, Wham, et al.) of the time. It isn't until the last two songs on Side Two of this album that there's any break in the monotony. But even then, this disc hasn't much to recommend itself. Ritchie apparently worked with many members of the Brazilian rock elite in the 1970s and '80s -- Cazuza, Lulu Santos, Caetano Veloso -- before going solo in 1983. This was, I believe, his third album. If you liked Vinicius Cantuaria's early solo work, then this might appeal to you as well...
Fairly lightweight, late vintage jovem guarda teenpop. Taking his cues from scene leader Roberto Carlos, Jose Roberto sings soft, emotive, midtempo love songs, though unlike many of his JG contemporaries he seldom varies the tempo or his own vocal approach, and -- more remarkably -- none of the songs in his repertoire were covers of American or British pop tunes. The backing is generally lackluster, with lazy, Carlos-ian electric organ balanced by rhythm and guitars that only occasionally hint at a brighter, more psychedelic '60s pop sound. That being said, Roberto's music isn't offensive or offputting... it's perfectly fine for what it is, it just isn't very exciting.
Jose Roberto "...E Seus Sucessos, v.2" (Epic, 1969)
Classical flautist Paula Robison does a great job with choro oldies by Pixinguinha and Jacob Do Bandolim, as well as some Luiz Bonfa tunes and a couple of brief passages of Bach. Beautiful, deft, flowery meoldic flourishes match the musical acrobatics of the original Brazilian recordings of the 1920s and '30s. Along with her are guitarists Romero Lubambo and Tiberio Nascimento, as well as Sergio Brandao on cavaquinho and percussionist Cyro Baptista. The best tracks are the openers, bouncy renditions of "1 X 0" and other choro standards; when Robison plays unaccompanied, the album loses some steam, despite her beautiful tone and restrained lyrical style. For a beautiful, clean sounding update of the old choro style, this is a pretty good record, worthy of comparision to Paul Moura's well-known Pixinguinha album.
A more modern take on the Brazilian sound, with accompaniment by percussionist Cyro Baptista and guitarist Romero Lubambo...
Jair Rodrigues - see artist discography
One of Brazil's brightest stars in the late 1990s and a darling of the US-European "world music" scene, Virginia Rodrigues is blessed with an exceptional, distictive voice, showing a touch of Maria Bethania's lower range, along with a somewhat operatic twist at the edges. I have heard criticisms that Ryko's version of this album undoes the careful sequencing of the original Brazilian release... Not having heard the import, I do have to concede that the pacing here seems a little choppy. Still, this features some lovely arrangements by Caetano Veloso, and even though her voice is a bit overripe and florid, the disc is certainly worth giving a listen. Fans of Cesaria Evora may be particularly pleased.
While it is true that Virginia Rodrigues represents something quite new on contemporary Brazilian pop -- a unique voice and an unusually low-key approach to the Afro-Brazilian percussion -- I have to admit that I found my attention wandering on this one. Even with input and guidance from my hero, Caetano Veloso, this album sounds rather stuffy and ponderous. While on one level it's nice that Rodrigues shies away from the now-stereoypical vocal expansiveness that defined the work of divas such as Clara Nunes and Elis Regina, her quietude and restrained approach feel too static, and perhaps suggest a talent which is capable of more than it's producing. Then again, this is a layered and delicate production, and you may find that with repeated listenings it may continually reveal new surprises. It just didn't really grab me.
Virginia Rodrigues "Mares Profundos" (Deutsche Gramophone, 2003)
Rodrigues reinterprets the famed Afro-Sambas album, recorded in 1966 by poet Vinicius De Moraes and guitarist Baden Powell... I haven't heard this disc yet, but I am certainly curious...
A wide-ranging, though very '70s-ed out jazz album, which highlights this veteran drummer at his best. The album opens with an impressive pair of batucada tunes that should get your attention. Things get more stereotypically jazzy from there, but even with the rambling fusion and post-bop meanders, this is a pretty strong album. Even old grumps like myself who don't have much use for '70s style jazz should recognize that this album is towards the top of the heap for the style. Romao is also notable as one of the all-too-rare Braz-jazzers who hang onto their Brazilianness, despite working up in the States. Guest musicians include pianist Dom Salvador, who was known for his role in the Black Rio soul scene. Worth checking out.
Impressive recent recordings from this Braz-jazz oldtimer. Drummer Romao, who worked with Sergio Mendes in the '60s, and Weather Report in the '70s, has a lot of jazz cred behind him, and draws on it liberally. The highlights for me are the batucada and percussive workouts, but folks with a light jazz sweet tooth may like the breezier stuff as well. Very retro, but not bad for an old geezer.
Angela RoRo "Colecao Obras-Primas" (PolyGram, 1997)
Fairly standard MPB recorded between 1979-85... RoRo, with her husky voice and lavish arrangements is obviously taking her cues from Maysa and Maria Bethania, although she is somewhat more playful (as heard in her nostalgic rocknroll cover of Lieber and Stoller's "Hound Dog") than those divas tended to be... This best-of covers her first solo albums; it isn't dazzlingly original, but RoRo had her charms and holds her own next to similarly throaty singers such as Bethania and Virginia Rodrigues. (She was, incidentally, one of the first Brazilian pop stars to come out of the closet, writing about the public reaction in songs such as "Escandalo.")
Noel Rosa - see artist discography
Rosana "As Melhores" (Sony-Brasil, 2001)
A 14-song best-of featuring plenty of tacky, mainstream '80s pop from this marginal singer. She covers Al Green's "Let's Get Together" (yowling her way through it) and an old Minnie Ripperton song... The old-school soul is balanced by songs by some influential Brazilian rock artists (Rita Lee, Lenine, Marcos Valle and others) but nothing that didn't make me cringe in horror. Not my style.
Pleasant, but lightweight, bossa nova-flavored MPB, issued on a German label. There are echoes of Joyce and Marisa Monte, though this duo doesn't have as much spark to their vocals as either of those big stars. Some creative arrangements -- particularly the Astor Piazzolla-like accordion that snakes through many of the tracks -- but overall this lacks bite, and seems a bit tamely produced.
Renato Russo "O Ultimo Solo" (EMI, 1998)
Renato Russo "Equilibrio Distante" (EMI, 1999)
The late lead singer for Legiao Urbana, singing a pop album in Italian, with absolutely horrible music to back him up... as is entirely appropriate to the target audience. Yecch. Not my kinda "pop."
Renato Russo "Renato Russo" (Atracao, 2003)
Renato Russo "Serie Identidade" (EMI, 2002)
Renato Russo "Colecao A-Z" (EMI, 2003)
A "bricked" box set with straight reissues of three Russo albums... Not quite sure which albums they were, though...
Renato Russo "Colecao Talento" (EMI, 2004)
Renato Russo "Series Bis" (EMI, 2005)
Brazilian Music - Letter "S"
Main Brazil Index
World Music Index