This is Page 2 of a listing of miscellaneous albums and artists under the letter "T"
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A fairly swanky jazz-pop tribute to her mother, Sylvia Telles, one of the earliest and most important interpreters of the bossa nova compositions of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Claudia was the daughter of the glamorous Sylvinha, who was the queen of Brazilian pop in the pre-bossa 1950s. The two vocalists once performed together as a mother-daughter act, ala Miucha and Bebel Gilberto. Claudia eventually went solo in the mid-'70s, but here she gives a nod to her roots. This is a little slick for my tastes, but folks whose taste runs to the more lavish-sounding and modern end of Brazilian pop will probably love this album. Sylvinha herself "duets" on the album's opening number; her voice sounds remarkably pure and mellow, probably because the younger Ms. Telles is singing along to old recordings made back in the '50s... Hmmmmm....
Elegant, understated ballads drawing on material from several decades of Brazilian pop... Drummer Wilson Das Neves anchors the five-piece band, while heavyweight guest performers abound, including singers Johnny Alf, Tito Madi and old-school sambista Nelson Sargento. It's a sleek, swank affair, and fans of traditional jazz-flavored modern MPB will probably enjoy it quite a bit... (Although I have to confess there's something about Telles' vocal tone, her voice itself, that rubs me the wrong way... I recognize that this is a perfectly fine album, but it still grates on me a little...)
One of the few pre-bossa nova vocalists to really make a go of it after Gilberto and Jobim hit the scene, Telles was also one of the duo's first champions in the late 1950s. This best-of collection leans heavily on the Jobim songbook, with just a smattering of other songwriters, such as Fernando Cesar, Garoto and Carlos Lyra included on the sidelines. These are early recordings, made between 1957-59, when the bossa nova clique was still just breaking into the industry: this is the mainstream establishment's take on their music. What's interesting is how easily the distinctive melodies of such frequently-recorded classics such as "A Felicidade," "Discussao," etc. were lost inside the stiff, pop standards-style arrangements of the time. But for a feel for how these songs entered the canon, this disc may be worth checking out.
Sylvia Telles "Amor Em Hi-Fi" (Philips, 1960)
A smooth, mellow, but also kind of old-fashioned album, made as the newborn bossa nova scene was at its crest. On the opening track, Jobim's "Samba Torto," Telles is at her best -- her voice is crystalline and gorgeous, the arrangements are powerful and bright. She loses some ground on the North American standards medley that follows, singing Sammy Cahn's "All The Way" with clarity and conviction, but missing the lilt in Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me." Then as she moves through a series of newly-minted bossa tunes by Carlos Lyra, Roberto Menescal, Sergio Ricardo and the rest of the gang, Telles settles into some of the fusty, formulaic dance sounds of the old-school Brazilian studio system -- her version of Joao Gilberto's "Oba-La-La," stands out in particular as almost a parody of the cheerful bounciness he'd infused the song with originally. Although she was a patron and heroine of the bossa set, her recordings often seem to fall prey to the whims of the old-guard studio producers. Still... there is that voice, that lovely, youthful voice! For that alone, and for the historical significance, this album is certainly worth checking out.
Well into the bossa years, Telles was a much looser, much lusher singer, and these relaxed, swinging recordings made for Aloysio De Oliveira's are among some of the best material in the Elenco catalog. Telles is joined by another old-timer, samba crooner Lucio Alves, who also sounds in a pretty good mood. I'm not sure, but I believe guitarist-composer Roberto Menescal provides backup on all these tracks; his group also performs several instrumental numbers. The pacing of this album is quite nice, too... it's been reissued on CD and is well worth tracking down!
This was her last album to be released before her untimely death in 1966... Packed with English-language translations of many of Jobim's best early songs, this disc was recorded in Brazil, but intended for an American audience... Although Telles sounded much more comfortable with English than many Brazilians, the actual translations -- particularly those by Ray Gilbert -- seem kinda clunky, and the album often lacks spark. Maestro Lindolfo Gaya's arrangements also seem somewhat overlarge and overripe (although I'm sure there are many out there who will vehemently disagree with me on both points...) Anyway, for whatever reason, this album didn't really move me much. It's not horrible or anything, but it seems a little too show-bizzy and less fluid than it could have been. Still... it's real, live, high-class bossa, from back in the genre's heyday... So it's probably worth checking out.
Most of the early Brazilian jazz album I've heard don't do much for me... Groups like the Tamba Trio and Zimbo Trio seemed as incapable of "getting" the groove of American jazz as the Yankees were of "getting" the subtlety of bossa nova... This album is a standout, though. Light bop, with a fairly gritty feel, and more than a hint of Thelonious Monk's melodic style. And, what goes 'round comes 'round -- one of the standout tracks is Bud Shank's "Sambinha", originally recorded on his Brasamba album. (Tenorio had previously backed Shank up on a tour through South America...) Players include Milton Banana (percussion) and Paulo Moura and Meirelles on saxophone, and pianist Francisco Tenorio Cerqueira, Jr.
O Terco "Casa Encantada" (EMI/Copacabana, 1976)
Guilty pleasure-y Brazilian prog rock which should find a welcome audience with fans of other '70s bands such as Os Mutantes, Seco & Molhados or Novos Baianos. These two albums have been reissued together on a single CD -- each has its charms and its scary parts. The first album has a great Spinal Tappy and folk-rock vibe to it; by the second album they were sounding a bit more like Yes or Rush. But it's definitely worth checking out -- I'm pretty snooty about stuff like this, and I kept my copy. (Of course, my pal who's actually into prog rock said he didn't this very much, so take what I say with a grain of salt...) Apparently Vinicius Cantuaria was also in this band, though he didn't emerge as a songwriter until a few years later.
The band's original lineup gave way to a group dominated by guitarist Cezar De Merces and bassist Sergio Graffa, and to a markedly poppier sound. There's a faint trace of their proggy origins, but mostly this is chirpy AOR, with the Rush comparison giving way to even more lightweight, fluffy influences. There is one cool song on here -- the title track -- that has some groovy reverby guitars and a nice, strong central riff... But mostly this is a pretty sketchy effort, nothing to get too excited about.
This modernized pagode has its tacky side, and the Caribbean rhythms are pretty monotonous, compared to the more subtle Afro-Brazilian percussion... But hearing Terra Samba play live, with the fans all aflutter, helps explain the band's popularity... Lead singer Reinaldo Nascimento is a marginally adequate performer, but he's okay, in an inoffensive way. There are certainly much worse bands out there!
Unapologetically commercial, cheerfully unchallenging modern Brazilian pop... It's pretty brainless, but it's also fun, in an exceedingly generic way. If you turn off your critical thinking, you may find your toes tapping, and perhaps even a little bumping in your booty.
Brazilian Music - More Letter "T"
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