This is the second page of a discography of Brazilian Soul Music and Funk with reviews of old records and new... For more about this style, see page one.
If you have some favorite albums or artists that you think should be added to this list, feel free to write me and suggest them as well...
Tim Maia - see artist discography
Marku "Selecao De Ouro" (Copacabana)
Inventive funk music that bears a resemblance -- particularly in the vocals -- to soul crooner Tim Maia. Marku, 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 "72/75" (Copacabana)
This draws on two albums, Underground, from 1972 and 1975's Marku.
Dom Mita "O Som Do Black Rio" (Transmita/Whatmusic, 2001)
A Black Rio revivalist album, this features soul singer and percussionist Dom Mita along with a slew of his old pals, including members of Banda Black Rio and vocalist Carlos Dafe (who guests on one song). The album is dedicated to the late Tim Maia, and is definitely true to his spirit. There's an odd, familiar mix of disco-ish production and legitimately funky rhythms -- this modern disc is well-produced and tightly arranged. It might not be your bag, but if it is, I'm sure you'll be pretty happy with it.
Nacao Zumbi "Radio S.Amb.A" (YBrazil?, 2000)
One of Brazil's premiere rock bands, these guys are Chico Science's backup crew, and also crank out their own albums with some regularity. It's a cool-toned mix of samba, funk, hard rock, ska/reggae, and hip-hop -- more Beastie Boys than Chili Peppers. It's not really my cup of tea, but these guys are pretty solid and much more accomplished than most of their contemporaries. Definitely worth checking out if contemporary Brazilian pop appeals to you.
Quinteto Ternura "Quinteto Ternura" (RCA, 1974)
The vitality these ex-Jovem Guarda teens showed earlier in their career is sadly absent on this, their final album. Despite the Jackson Five-style outfits worn on the cover, this is calculatedly light, perky, breezy pop, following in the path of bands such as The Association or Terry Jacks, rather than the soul or psychedelic music they dabbled in earlier. The most striking track is the Joni Mitchell-styled "Consegui Concluir"; they also cover Caetano Veloso's "Baby," but in as bland a fashion as possible. Disappointing. (See Trio Ternura, below.)
Dom Salvador E Abolicao "Som, Sangue E Raca" (CBS, 1971)
Throughout the 1960s, pianist Dom Salvador worked in a series of bossa-jazz outfits, and professionally backed top-name artists such as Elis Regina, Jorge Ben and Edu Lobo. (See the Brazilian Jazz section for reviews of his earlier albums.) Later he formed this outfit, an all-black band that was one of the early fixtures on the "Black Rio" 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. Compared to North American 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.
Lucas Santtana "Eletro Ben Dodo" (Natasha, 1999)
Classically fashioned tropicalia from the younger set in Brazil. Energetic, acoustic-based revelry that openly glories in its debts to Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and Jorge Ben. Produced by fellow novo tropicalista rocker, Chico Neves, this weaves Afro-Brasilian percussion in with dynamic acoustic guitars, and plenty of funky rhythms. Santtana's creative sweep isn't as "out there" as the wildest old stuff from the old pros, but he does capture the verve and enthusiasm they had in their youth. With the exception of one well-chosen cover tune -- James Brown's "Doin' It To Death" -- all these tunes are Santtana originals, showing that this fellow is clearly a major talent on the contemporary Brazilian rock scene. Highly recommended!
Wilson Simonal -- see artist profile.
Suba "Sao Paulo Confessions" (Ziriguiboom/Six Degrees, 2000)
Soft-soul electronica with wispy female vox. The mixer, Suba, a Yugoslavian expatriate, died in an apartment fire in Brazil during the winter of '99, and this album is his legacy. One wonders though, comparing the strength of the first few tracks with the album's somewhat formless second half, if all these tracks got all the attention they deserved before his untimely death. On the best vocal cuts, this seems like a logical '90s extension of the old Astrud Gilberto sound, with silken, synthetic sound beds in place of sax and strings. The instrumental numbers, on the other hand, tend to be a bit flat, as does a version of "A Felicidade" which somehow manages to denude the Jobim standard of its melody. Art rocker Arnaldo Antunes pitches in on one track, with his patented Beat Happening-croaky voice. Trip-hoppers may go for this more than I did, though I do think there are some lovely moments to be heard here.
Toni Tornado "B. R. 3" (Odeon, 1971)
Apparently this fellow was a television actor who briefly made the move into a music career, as a pioneer of the Black Rio soul scene. His debut on the Odeon label is nearly indistinguishable from similar hard-edged funk by Tim Maia, an uneasy, back-and-forth mix between the machinegun yelps and growls of James Brown and the softer crooning of the Philly crowd. Still, it's way better than wimpy material by Cassiano and his ilk. A slew of well-known jazz and soul musicians worked with Tornado on this album (each apparently recording with him on separate sessions), including Paulo Moura, Dom Salvador and Waltel Branco. Worth checking out if you're tracking down these old soul albums.
Toni Tornado "Toni Tornado" (Odeon, 1972)
Tornado's follow-up album is fairly dreadful, though, full of spasmodic, hyperactive arrangements which at their best sound like the disco-y work of Banda Black Rio, and at their worst are simply loud and unfocussed. Retro-funk fans will probably dig this album, but it lacks polish and doesn't really hold up.
Trio Mocoto "Muita Zorra" (Philips, 1971)
Trio Mocoto "Trio Mocoto" (Brasis/Movieplay, 1972)
These guys backed up Jorge Ben in the early 1970s, as he shifted into guise as a funk musician... These recordings were made after their work backing him on the Forca Bruta album; they're simultaneously soulful and slightly goofy, with an easygoing mix of groove and easy listening -- jazzy guitars, samba percussion and a light string section, very typical of late '60s/early '70s Brazilian pop... This doesn't have the same grit and drive as their work with Ben, but it stops well short of being outright Muzak, and has a fair share of sly, soulful moments. It's not earth-shaking , but it's worth checking out.
Trio Mocoto "Trio Mocoto" (RGE, 1975)
Same title, same era -- different album. I suspect this may be an earlier effort, but couldn't tell from the rather expensive CD reissue. At any rate, this album starts off at a gallop, with a Sly Stone-d funk number, but bit by bit loses its way, until it terminates with a goofy instrumental rendition of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head". Not awful in the classic Brazilian pop manner, but a little muddled. Soul and acid jazz fans will definitely want to check this one out, but others may wish to tread carefully. If you've liked the other Trio Mocota album, this might also be worth a shot.
Trio Mocoto "Samba Rock" (Six Degrees, 2002)
Cool record! These old guys have still got it... in fact, I'd even say this disc is stronger overall than their "classic" early work, reviewed above. Nice, chopsy funk and soul, with predictable, but delicious dips into rap and electronica. What's great about this album is the old-timer confidence that these guys exude throughout. Definitely worth checking out.
Trio Ternura "Trio Ternura" (CBS) (1971?)
Cool psychedelic soul-pop album, produced under the auspices of crazed, ne'er-do-well avant-rocker, Raul Seixas, who was just about ready to get kicked off the CBS label himself for greenlighting his own solo album without the label head's approval. Enough about him, though... This album has some great '60s pop twists, LA-style orchestral stuff, cannily blended with driving funk, similar to early Sly & The Family Stone. They later released an album under the name of Quinteto Ternura (reviewed above). Retro fans pay heed: this is an album worth tracking down!
Uniao Black "Uniao Black" (RCA, 1977)
One of the handful of Braz-Soul bands that really deliver the goods. Plenty of great, bouncy, heavy bass lines, straight out of KC & The Sunshine Band, or the O'Jays, but with a seriously funky undercurrent. Unlike many of their disco-ed out contemporaries, these guys really "got" it... The album does lapse into funky-jam tedium after a powerful start, but the level of playing is still far above most of the Black Rio bands, sexier and less jarring or hyperactive than, say, Banda Black Rio. Recommended.
Zuco 103 "Outro Lado" (Ziriguiboom/Six Degrees, 2000)
Zuco 103 "The Other Side EP" (Ziriguiboom/Six Degrees, 2000)
A canny mix of Brazilian MPB, soul, and European trip-hop/dance styles. This Dutch ensemble features the sleek vocals of Brazilian expatriate, Lilian Veira... It took me a while to place the feel of her style, but finally it dawned on me: if Sade had spoken Portuguese, the result might have been much like this. This is a sugary, languid album, which should blow the minds of the soul-ier club kids, though those of a more traditional, less electronic bent may find their attention wandering after a while. The Other Side EP gets even clubbier and more house-y.
Various Artists "BLACK RIO -- BRAZIL SOUL POWER: 1971-1980" (Strut, 2002)
Certainly one of the strongest sets of Brazilian funk and soul that has been compiled to date. Like other similar sets, this disc has a strong disco tinge, but it is mercifully short on the strained soul ballads by thin-voiced crooners such as Cassiano and Hyldon, opting instead for more rugged material bu the likes of Uniao Black, Copa 7 and Dom Salvador. Also included are big name artists like Banda Black Rio, Jorge Ben and Ben's one-time backup, Trio Mocoto, but also a slew of lesser known gems by Manito, Miguel de Deus, Eklipse Soul and others. This album's biggest coup is the inclusion of Antonio Carlos & Jocafi's surprise sizzler, "Kabaluere," a bass-heavy funk bomb with a strong Isley Brothers feel, recorded in 1971, by this otherwise fairly wimpy songwriting duo. Also has one track by Gerson King Combo, whose music remains mysteriously unmined by the retro crowd. This is a very strong collection; hopefull strut can come up with a follow-up volume or two of equal calibre. Recommended!
Various Artists "CITY OF GOD" (Soundtrack) (Milan, 2003)
The soundtrack to Fernando Meirelles' hard-hitting, gritty feature film about life in the favela slums. An excellent collection of vintage "Black Rio" Brazilian soul, including tracks by Tim Maia, crooner Hyldon and Wilson Simonal's hipsterdelic "Nao Vem Que Nao Tem," which was previously anthologized on the SAMBA SOUL '70 album reviewed below. Also included are sweet samba tunes from Cartola," an elder of the Mangueira samba school, and the anthemic "Metamorfose Ambulante," by rocker Raul Seixas. It's a fine set of classic songs to start with, but the new material that augments and connects these tracks is also pretty cool, '70s-styled funksploitation instrumentals by Antonio Pinto and Ed Cortez, along with a new samba-soul song by Seu Jorge, one of the best new artists in the style. This is a really groovy collection, definitely worth checking out!
Various Artists "SAMBA SOUL '70" (Ziriguiboom/Six Degrees, 2001)
A pretty sweet set, and probably the best collection of Brazilian soul we're likely to see up in the States for some time to come. Apparently these guys didn't have access to the full Philips-PolyGram catalog, so there are major omissions - Tim Maia, Gershon King Combo and Jorge Ben, to name a few - but what's here is pretty tasty. The disc's major coup is the inclusion of Wilson Simonal's super-swinging "Nao Vem Que Nao Tem," a hip, Ray Charles-style zinger from the mid-'60s which mysteriously has never been included on any of Simonal's own best-ofs... There are also plenty of other rarities and odd inclusions (such as a funky disco-era track by former jovem guarda teen queen, Wanderlea...) along with staples of the samba-soul scene like Banda Black Rio, Dom Salvador and Trio Mocoto. The slant of this collection is somewhat lounge-y and acid-jazz-ish -- not as all-out disco or as sappy and Philly-Sound as it might have been. Overall it's pretty breezy and fun. It also has several impossible-to-find songs on it... Worth checking out!
Various Artists "HOJE E NATAL" (Mercury-Japan, 1999)
To balance things out, you might want to track down this spiffy but expensive Japanese import of classic '70s soul from Gershon King Combo, Cassiano, Jorge Ben, and Caetano Veloso... Since this was compiled By Arto Lindsay, I presume it's all first-rate stuff, but since I still haven't won the Lottery, I haven't had the good fortune to find out yet...
Various Artists "SOUL BRASILEIRO" (Universal, 2000)
I also haven't heard this collection yet, but there's a nice description of it on the Clique Music website. Although this only has 14 tracks (stingy!), it tracks Brazilian soul from the '70s through the '90s, including artists in the Polygram orbit such as Gershon King Combo, Ed Motta, Cassiano and Lulu Santos. Why Universal seems hellbent on holding back the material from Jorge Ben's Africa Brasil album is beyond me, but at least this is a step in the right direction.
Other Brazilian Styles
Main Brazil Index