Brazilian Album Reviews

This is Page 2 of a listing of miscellaneous albums and artists under the letter "A"

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Mario Albanese "Apresentando Mario Albanese" (EP) (Ricordi, 1956)

Mario Albanese "Insonia" (Odeon, 1959)

Mario Albanese "Coisas De Amor" (Chantecler, 1962)
Pure easy-listening cheese; music to snooze by with little overt "Brazilianness" involved... Pianist/composer Mario Albanese has his fans, but I suspect it's one of those nudge-nudge, wink-wink, hipsters-love-kitsch kind of things. This isn't loungecore of the Sergio Mendes variety, but rather more like Mantovani, with maybe a smidge of Martin Denny, lots of milky string arrangements and a lethargic, plunky piano that slows things down even more. If you're looking for groovy-baby, sambadelic '60s Brazil, you might want to skip this one. (By the way, is it just me, or does the woman on the cover look exactly like the character Peggy Olson, from Mad Men?)

Mario Albanese "Longe De Voce" (Fermata) (LP)

Mario Albanese "Jequibau" (Epic, 1965) (LP)
The title track, "Jequibau," is revered (by some) as a loungecore gem, but it's still a little too leaden for me. This is still too gooey and un-samba for my tastes, despite its praise as a "balanco" dance classic. Sorry, I'm just not buying it on this one. And yet, as noted above, Albanese has his fans. So you may have to figure this one out for yourself.

Marina Alcina "Marina Alcina" (Continental, 1973)

Marina Alcina "Marina Alcina" (Continental, 1974)

Marina Alcina "Plenitude" (Copacabana, 1979) (LP)

Marina Alcina "Prenda O Tadeu" (Copacabana, 1985)

Marina Alcina "Bucaneira" (Origem, 1992)

Marina Alcina & Bojo "Agora" (Tratore, 2004)

Marina Alcina "Confesso" (Som Livre, 2007)

Marina Alcina "Confete E Serpentina" (Tratore, 2008)

Alcione - see artist discography

Aldeia Dos Anjos "Music From South Brazil" (Arc Music, 2002)
Traditional folkloric "country" music from the gauchos of Rio Grande Do Sul, which sounds very different from most Brazilian music you're likely to have heard... This acoustic quartet is pretty lively and pretty polished; for some reason I keep being reminded of Italian or Sardinian folk music when I listen to this CD. It might not be for everyone, but this non-samba style is definitely another part of the Brazilian cultural patchwork...

Paulo Alencar "The Best Of Bossa Nova Jazz" (Castle Pie, 2001)
I'm normally pretty resistant to '60s pop kitsch, but these swanky pop-jazz recordings are pretty swinging, especially the backbeat-heavy "Ziriguidum," which is as perky and cheerful a loungecore classic as you could ever hope for. Alencar was a Rio native who moved to LA and did session work with Neil Diamond and others, and made a few albums for stateside labels such as Atco and Kapp. This CD appears to be a near-exact reissue of a 1963 Atco album, Jazza Nova, with two extra songs of indeterminate origin... There are a few tepid tracks, but mostly it's fun stuff, a notch or two above the standard-issue bossa-jazz ensembles of the time. The downside of this British import is there are no liner notes -- none -- making it kinda difficult to find out when these recordings are from, or who played on these "all-star" sessions. (In particular, who was the adorable female vocalist on "Ziriguidum"?) Still, it's definitely worth checking out, especially if you're looking for fun early '60s fare.

Paulo Alencar "Jazza Nova" (Atco, 1963) (LP)

Paulo Alencar "The Great Hits Of Brazil" (Kapp) (LP)

Aleuda "Oferenda" (Carmo, 1984) (LP)
(Produced & arranged by Hermeto Pascoal)

Aleuda "Oferenda" (Far Out, 2000)
(Produced & arranged by Hermeto Pascoal)

As far as I can tell, this digital-age release is an expanded reissue of the 1984 album with singer Alueda joined by avant-jazznik Hermeto Pascoal and a whole herd of Brazilian jazz pros such as Zeca Assumpcao, Robertinho Silva and Jaques Morelenbaum, exploring a set of Northeastern musical themes. The reissue adds a couple of remix tracks.

Johnny Alf - see artist discography

Walter Alfaiate "Olha Ai" (Alma/Eldorado, 1999)
(Produced by Marco Aurelio)

A beautiful, no-nonsense set of '70s-style acoustic pagode sambas, with the buoyant chorus and warm, melodic cavaquinho and guitar riffs. Songwriter Walter Nunes is nicknamed Walter The Tailor (Alfaiate) because of his "day job" as a tailor in Rio, work he's done since the 1940s... He's an older gentleman, and his voice reflects his years, although this thickness of tone just adds to the air of authenticity and unpretentiousness that makes this album so nice. Alfaiate has worked at the margins of the samba scene for decades... In the 1970s Paulinho Da Viola recorded several of his songs and put him on the map as a samba composer; you can also hear him perform on the Piraja "Equina Carioca" album that Beth Carvalho produced around the same time this disc came out. Nice stuff... definitely recommended!

Walter Alfaiate "Samba Na Medida" (CPC-UMES, 2003)
(Produced by Marcus Vinicius De Andrade & Joao Moreirao)

Another solid, no-nonsense, classy old-school acoustic pagode album, with sweet, muscular samba melodies, strong vocals and an ever-present chorus. Fine music. Recommended!

Walter Alfaiate "Tributo A Mauro Duarte" (2006)

Jorge Alfredo & Chico Evangelista "Bahia Jamaica" (RCA Victor, 1981)
(Produced by Luiz Mocarzel & Antonio Carlos da Oliveira)

Aline "Aline" (Companhia Vento de Raio, 1979) (LP)
A very weird and amazingly diverse album from Minas Gerais singer and cultural/political activist Aline Mendonca Luz, who sang with Clementina de Jesus and others in the early '70s, cut a few singles for RCA before releasing this debut album at decade's end. Aline mixes multiple styles -- edgy MPB, avant-folk, jazz-fusion, and regional styles, with a particularly intriguing dip into forro music at the start, and reprises several of her signature songs, including "Amo-te (Mesmo?) Muito", which was written especially for her by Caetano Veloso... It's a very ambitious album, challenging and frequently semi-unlistenable (depending on your tastes, and on your devotion to purposefullu difficult music) but certainly worth a spin. An impressive garrison of top talent performs with Aline on this album -- Joao Bosco contributes three songs and plays guitar on one; Jaime Alem plays on several tracks, Toninho Horta on one; Raphael Rabello, Leo Gandelman... It's an impressive roster. Aline has one of those husky, rough female voices that only Brazilian music can foster, but she also has a very expansive artistic vision. This isn't an album that I, personally, would need to come back to often, but folks interested in the avant fringes of Brazilian jazz and psychedelic folk will probably want to check it out.

Aline "Uma Face, Outra Face" (Companhia Vento de Raio, 1982) (LP)

Aline "Mares De Minas" (Companhia Vento de Raio, 1988) (LP)

Alma Brasileira "Alma Brasileira" (Warner, 1978) (LP)

Laurindo Almeida - see artist discography

Almondegas "Almondegas" (Continental, 1975)
This was the original group of the pop duo, Kleiton & Kleidir... Almondegas recorded four albums in the 1970s before the duo split off and formed their own act...

Almondegas "Aqui" (Continental, 1975)

Almondegas "Alhos Com Bugalhos" (Phonogram, 1977)

Almondegas "Circo De Marionetes" (Phonogram, 1975)

Almondegas "Gaudencio Sete Luas" (Continental, 1977)
A best of set...

Almondegas "Warner 30 Anos"

Almondegas "Nova Serie" (Warner, 2008)

Aloysio E Seu Conjunto "Na Ciranda Do Samba" (Copacabana, 1962)
(Produced by Aloysio Figueiredo)

Cornball EZ-listening samba instrumentals, with dit-dit-ditty organ playing at the fore, and a bit of mildly jazzy electric guitar, sort of along the same lines as Walter Wanderley, but even cornier. A vocal group known as Os Modernistas (including a soloist named Cacau) provide some stylistic respite, and the few tunes where they perform have a fun, kitschy quality... The all-instrumental tunes, however, aren't likely to stick to your ribs. Too goofy for me.

Atualfo Alves - see artist discography

Carmelia Alves "Abraca Jackson Do Pandeiro E Gordurinha" (UMES, 2004)
A tribute to two of the giddiest and most cheerful regional artists of the 1950s and early '60s, forro star Jackson Do Pandeiro and northeastern songwriter Gordurinha, who penned the hit "Chiclete Com Banana." Sounds yummy.

Cleide Alves "Twist/Hully Gully/Cleide Alves" (RGE, 1964)
Jovem guarda teenybopper rocker Cleide Alves cut her first single back in 1960, and the following year she contributed vocals to the first album by Renato E Seus Blue Caps. Apparently she had enough mojo in her career to record two solo albums, including this gem, with Renato and his band backing her once again. I'm not sure who was backing her on this record, but it's a nice solid set, with peppy frat-rock arrangements and super-chirpy, girly vocals. She's a little mousier-sounding than even Celly Campello and Wanderlea, the fabbest femmes of the genre, but no less dynamic and delightful. Annette Funicello, look out!

Cleide Alves "Cancao De Nos Dois" (RCA Victor, 1970)

Francisco Alves - see artist discography

Gilberto Alves "Selecao De Ouro - 20 Sucessos" (EMI-Brasil, 1998)

Gilberto Alves "Serie Bis - Cantores Do Radio" (EMI-Brasil, 2000)
Now a lesser-known star of Brazil's radio days, Gilberto Alves recorded extensively in the late 1930s and '40s, and was one of the best-beloved singers of his generation. His style encompassed big band crooning as well as straightforward samba cancao, all delivered in a fresh-sounding, friendly voice. Not as studiously suave as his contemporaries such as Orlando Silva or Francisco Alves, Gilberto is in a sense a more inviting, less moderated singer -- this is one of the best collections in this series, particularly if you are looking for the old stuff!

Gilberto Alves "Serie Raizes Do Samba" (EMI-Brasil, 2000)
This single-CD best-of only has three tracks that overlap with the 2-CD Cantores Do Radio collection above... That's because this disc concentrates on later recordings -- a few from the 1950s, but most from the '60s and a few from 1977 -- the other collection also reaches into these eras, but chooses different songs, so the two retrospectives compliment each other perfectly. Highly recommended.

Gilberto Alves "Saudade Nao Tem Fim" (Revivendo)

Lucio Alves - see artist discography

Tania Alves "Millennium" (Polygram, 1999)
Alves is an interesting throwback to the lush romanticism of the pre-bossa "radio singers," who in turn took their inspiration from the syrupy bolero vocalists that dominated Latin American pop throughout the 20th Century. These mid-1990s recordings generally have nice understated arrangements -- although the collection gradually moves from nice acoustic backings to more cloying string arrangements. Alves is a fairly throaty, declarative singer, although hardly as strident as, say, Maria Bethania. Bossa or rock fans probably will find little here to hold their attention, but folks with a classicist's sweet tooth may enjoy the slurpy, yet straightforward sentimentality.

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