This is a listing of miscellaneous albums and artists under the letter "S".
If an artist or album you like is not reviewed here, please feel free
to contact me and make a suggestion.
Sa, Rodrix & Guarabira "Sa, Rodrix & Guarabira" (EMI, 2003)
Although patently derivative of psychedelic forerunners such as Os Mutantes and the other tropicalistas, this group is still worth checking out for their melody-driven riffs and devotion to American-style rock'n'roll. This disc combines material from the trio's first two albums, Passado, Presente E Futuro (1971) and Terra (1973), music made with an abundance of '50s-style rock rhythms, yet with an experimental edge that sets them apart from the formulaic jovem guarda rockers of the previous decade. At times it sounds a little forced, but still can be captivating, especially if you give it more than one chance. Kind of a curio, but still pretty cool. Gutemberg Guarabira and Luiz Carlos Sa went on to record more straightforward pop material in the '70s and '80s, but nothing as striking as this... Ze Rodrix went solo, although he continuted to collaborate with them
Sa & Guarabyra " O Melhor De..." (BMG-RCA, 1997)
This best-of set covers the work Gutemberg Guarabira and Luiz Carlos Sa did for the RCA label between 1977-88... It's inoffensive, unmemorable pop material, though judging from the sprinkling of tracks from a 1983 live album, they definitley had their fans. Didn't do much for me, though.
Producer Roberto Menescal was clearly looking for his own version of Astrud Gilberto -- an airy, whispery, bossa nova waif -- when he produced this album. Guitarist Wanda Sa had the advantage of being a serious musician herself although, honestly, as a vocalist she left a little to be desired. The cream of Brazil's bossa-jazz scene were assembled for this album, including Luiz Carlos Vinhas, Tenorio, Jr., Eumir Deodato and Dom Um Romao, but even with the sharp, modern arrangements, it's tough to mask how far out of tune she was on most of these songs. It wasn't an insurmountable problem: witness the production on later releases such as Sergio Mendes' Brasil '65 album, Sa's Softly, and even Paul Desmond's otherwise-lethargic From The Hot Afternoon, all of which she sang on later... Sa's vocals are framed more skillfully and sound more controlled than on this somewhat uneven debut. (Three English-language bonus tracks from each of those albums are added to this disc...) This album is okay, but seriously flawed... not that that should deter loungecore fans, in particular, from checking it out.
A fairly solid Brazilian-artist-records-in-the-States album, with Wanda de Sah capitalizing on her exposure as a featured artist in Sergio Mendes' Brazil '65 ensemble. The material is all drawn from bossa nova biggies such as Tom Jobim, Vinicius and Carlos Lyra, and American bandleader Jack Marshall's arrangements are surprisingly sympathetic and effective. Worth checking out! (Note: After performing on North American jazzman Paul Desmond's From The Hot Afternoon album in 1969, Sa's career was put on hold in the 1970s as she devoted herself to her marriage with MPB composer Edu Lobo... Below are reviews of some of her later work, when she came out of retirement in the 1990s.)
A schmaltzy, syrupy acoustic album by these two old-timers. Features plenty of classic Jobim songs, and other bossa nova standards. Ages ago, Sa was the featured guitarist and vocalist in Sergio Mendes' Brazil '65 group; Menescal was a bossa nova composer who went on to be one of Brazil's most active album arrangers. This, however, is a rather cloying version of a similar album he made in 1985 with vocalist Nara Leao. Personally, I think you'd be better off looking for that disc.
A good live set from some bossa nova/soft jazz warhorses... The material is almost exclusively drawn from Menescal's compositions, including a healthy dose of material cowritten with Ronaldo Boscoli. Both Menescal and Sa sound competent and smooth, though the winsome, loquatious Miele steals the limelight as the show's emcee, cracking jokes and settling into long, fulsome asides, connecting with the receptive, good-humored audience. Clearly everyone was on the same wavelength that night, and if you're looking to eavesdrop on a nostalgia-heavy bossa lovefest, this disc radiates warmth and good cheer. However, the music is constantly sidelined by the gabbing, and the insider-y feel of the event may leave more casual listeners feeling out of the loop. All in all, it ain't bad, but you might find yourself wishing they'd play a little more music sometimes.
Wanda Sa & Roberto Menescal "Estrada Tokyo-Rio" (Albatroz, 1998)
Wanda Sa/Roberto Menescal/Marcos Valle "Bossa Entre Amigos" (Albatroz, 2001)
A pleasant, but unchallenging, acoustic set. Features sprightly acoustic versions songs by several well-known MPB, samba and choro songwriters, including Chico Buarque, Nelson Cavaquinho, Caetano Veloso and Paulinho Da Viola. Classical guitar, smooth vocals and light percussion.
Sala Especial "Sala Especial" (Bizarre, 2000)
Four cute, kinda garage-y, indie-rockin' instrumentals, built largely around a spy-jazzy electric organ and a perky, infectious beat. One track is a riff on an old bossa standard; other than that, this EP isn't particularly "Brazilian," but that track is clever and the rest is equally fun. Worth checking out.
For the first half of this album, I was entranced by Salmaso's gorgeous voice, which is sort of like Gal Costa's, though tonally richer, and a little more sweet. Then, I started to notice how similar the songs all sounded, and after a while my attention started to drift. Produced by Rodolfo Stroeter, who also sculpted Gilberto Gil's awesome O Sol Oslo album, and has a similarly lavish, multi-textured sound, although it got little drippy towards the end. Nonetheless, Salmaso is a joy to listen to -- if you're looking for something mellow and dreamy, try this out.
Monica Salmaso "Voadeira" (Blue Jackel/Pau Brasil, 2002)
Continuing along the same path as Trampolim, this album is another intimate collaboration with producer Rodolfo Stroeter. It's elegaic and super-mellow, a bit sugary, though sure to please anyone with a relaxed, jazzy world music sweet-tooth.
Quite nice! This album reached me and drew me in in a way that her previous albums did not... It's simpler, more relaxed, more direct, and more lively. Rodolfo Stroeter again produces, but with an eye towards rootsier styles, notably the choro vibe that predominates on many songs. The song selection is broad, encompassing the old-school bossa of Tom Jobim, more modern MPB by Chico Buarque, some traditional-leaning acoustic sambas and samba cancaoes, and even some more angular, offbeat material by Tom Ze and Jose Miguel Wisnik. Although Salmaso's vocals are less ethereal and mysterious than before, they are also more accessible, and more engaging. A very nice album... recommended!
Throughout the 1960s, Sao Paulo pianist Dom Salvador (aka Salvador da Silva Filho) worked in a series of bossa-samba jazz combos, and professionally backed top-name artists such as Elis Regina, Jorge Ben and Edu Lobo. In the early '60s he jammed with Paul Winter when the West Coast jazzman made his fabled Brazilian pilgrimage, and later formed this outfit, which was a pretty swinging, compact jazz trio. Although some of the tracks here are similar to the fairly commonplace instrumental efforts of contemporary acts such as the Tamba Trio, et al, there's also a high proportion of more melodically rich, compelling material, including several romantically graceful themes. Almost all the songs were original compositions, showing Salvador clearly a cut above his Brazilian jazz brethren. Sure, for serious jazz fans this might have its limitations, but in the Brazilian sphere, these sessions definitely stand out.
Another fine example of Salvador's lyrical leanings, and his ability to stand above the crowd in Brazil's somewhat clattersome bossa-jazz scene. As on his earlier albums, Dom Salvador excels on slower, more romantic numbers, and several good ones are collected here, as well as some sleek Latin jazz numbers. Edison Machado fills in on drums, and his work is also pretty solid... much better than most of their contemporaries! Includes a few original tunes, as well as covers of early Joao Donato and Chico Buarque tunes. [Reissued on the Whatmusic label.]
In the late '60s, Salvador formed this outfit, an all-black band that was one of the early fixtures on the "Black Rio" soul scene... This is a historically pivotal album, though some may find the mainly-instrumental performances a bit breezy... The soul side is reminiscent of early Joe Cocker, perhaps, and the instrumental flights are not far removed from Brazilian jazz acts such as the Tamba Trio, et al. and also includes a bit of traditional material, such as modernized forro and the like. Compared to North American soul artists like Sly Stone or even Arthur Conley, this is pretty lightweight, but it does grow on you. Recently reissued on CD, this longtime fetish item is available again after decades of being out of print.
Brazilian Music - More Letter "S"
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World Music Index