Brazilian Album Reviews

This is Page 4 of a listing of miscellaneous albums and artists under the letter "A"

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Aparecida - see artist discography

Apollo Nove "Res Inexplicada Volans" (Crammed Disc, 2006)
Richly layered Brazilian pop-electronica, crafted by producer/multi-instrumentalist Apollo Nove, a pop pioneer from Sao Paulo... Fans of the late mixmaster Suba, Marcelo D2 or Fernanda Porto will find a kindred spirit here. Some of the tracks are a bit facile (particularly the English-language opener, "Mr. Right Now," which is embarassingly dopey...) but other tracks are quite nice, including a pair of tunes featuring vocals by samba-soulster Seu Jorge... Throughout, the album has lovely sonic shading and rich acoustic textures -- the feel of the sound is lovely, even if the soul-electronic format might not be to everyone's taste. Anyway, if you're looking for new frontiers in Brazilian music, this is certainly an album to check out.

Apolo 11 "Apolo 11 Com Maria Creuza" (JS Discos, 1969)
A fascinating historical curio, featuring singer Maria Creuza before her emergence as a solo artist, working here with songwriter Antonio Carlos Marques, who went on to become half of the duo Antonio Carlos & Jocafi... Not only that, but Tutty Moreno, later a key player on the Brazilian jazz scene, is sitting in on drums! Despite the trippy, Space Age artwork, this is a fairly conservative set of bossa balladry, hardly the sort of perky pop-samba crossovers that Antonio Carlos later became known for, and a fairly sedate set, for all concerned. It's nice, but it sounds old-fashioned and out of date, considering the dynamism of the tropicalia scene at the time. Still, it's certainly worth checking out, particularly if you're a Creuza fan.

Aquarius Band "Aquarius Band" (Continental, 1970) (LP)
(Produced by Pocho Perez & Walter Silva)

Groovy-looking psychedelic cover art, a generic "hippie" band name, but mostly just a set of pop covers of songs from the US, UK and Contiental Europe. Also includes a version of Paulo Diniz' "Quero Voltar P'ra Bahia," which was pretty funky in the original version...

Aquattro "Toca Luperce Miranda" (2007)

Jorge Aragao - see artist discography

Ara Ketu - see artist discography

Guilherme Arantes - see artist discography

Eduardo Araujo - see artist discography

Manezinho Araujo "Cuma E O Nome Dele?" (RCA, 1974) (LP)

Manezinho Araujo "Cuma E O Nome Dele?" (Revivendo, 2003)

Marco Antonio Araujo - see artist discography

Monica Araujo "Monica Araujo" (Chantecler, 1993)
The debut album from singer Monica Araujo, who apparently was the daughter of MPB/jovem guarda stars Eduardo and Silvinha Araujo... I'm not sure how many albums Monica eventually made, though these two seem to be pretty obscure...

Monica Araujo "Lua Brasileira" (Paradoxx, 1996)

Monica Araujo "Monica Araujo" (Ouver, 2004)

Severino Araujo - see artist discography

Argemiro Patrocinio -- see letter "P"

Marcos Ariel - see artist discography

Armandinho - see artist discography

Armandinho "Armandinho" (Universal, 2004)
FYI - this is a different guy... A pop-reggae singer, not the cavaquinho whiz who is listed above...

Armandinho "Ao Vivo" (Universal, 2007)
Again, this is the reggae dude.

Armandinho "Casinha" (Atracao, 2007)
Reggae dude.

Armandinho "Armandinho" (Atracao, 2008)
Still the reggae dude...

Arranco "Samba De Cartola" (Dubas, 1993/2001)
It's a little strange to hear the driving, old-school sambas of escola legend Cartola refashioned into slower MPB ballads... Not that it hasn't been done before, or that Cartola's music didn't already have a romantic elegance to it, but it's the cumulative effect of hearing an entire album's worth of radical retoolings that makes a big impact. I imagine for some, more pop-oriented listeners, this disc way come as a welcome modernization or even as a revelation... For me, though, it's too slushy and stylized, and the vocal harmonies come just a bit too close to the sleek drabness of the Quarteto Em Cy... This has its moments, but on balance, it was a record that I could easily live without.

Arranco De Varsovia "Na Cadencia Do Samba" (Dubas, 2005)

Arranco De Varsovia "Samba E Progresso" (Dubas, 2008)

Arranco De Varsovia "...Canta Martinho Da Vila" (Mills, 2011)

Arranco De Varsovia "Na Panela Pra Dancar" (Mills, 2014)

Lucas Arruda "Sambadi" (Favorite Recordings, 2013)

Asa De Aguia - see artist discography

Asas Da America "Frevo" (Barclay, 1983)
(Produced by Paulo Rafael & Carlos Fernando)

A regional music band, with guest appearances by Geraldo Azevedo, Lenine, Lula Queiroga, Elba Ramalho, Alceu Valenca and others...

Patty Asher "Bossa, Jazz 'N' Samba" (Zoho, 2011)

As Meninas "Xibom Bombom" (Universal/Polydor, 1999)
Perky, anthemic, frothy axe pop from this (sort of) all-female band... Yeah, there are also a bunch of guys playing along in the studio, but as well as sing and look cute, the gals play guitar, bass, sax and surdo, so they're pretty legit. Spice Girl-y carnaval music, following in the footsteps of Margareth Menezes and Daniella Mercury... not classic, immortal art, but cute and fun. The title track is irresistible.

As Meninas "As Meninas" (Universal/Polydor, 2000)
More irrepressibly perky samba-pop from this cutesy gal band, including the hit, "Tapa Aqui, Descobre Ali." Although this album is packed with plenty of shameless commercial affectations and fluffy, by-the-numbers studio riffs, it's still pretty fun. It also seems slightly more rootsy than Xibom Bombom, but really, either album would get the point across. Worth checking out.

As Meninas "Bom Dia" (2000)

As Meninas "Loucas Por Voce" (Universal, 2001)

As Meninas "Ao Vivo" (Abril, 2003)

As Meninas "Simpatia Pra Curar Homem Valente" (EMI, 2006)

Badi Assad - see artist discography

Clarice Assad "Invitation: Introducing Clarice Assad" (2003)

Clarice Assad "Love, All That It Is" (NSS Music, 2008)

Clarice Assad "Home" (Adventure Music, 2012)
(Produced by Jim Luce & Richard Zirinsky Jr.)

A samba-soaked hard-jazz outing, with pianist/vocalist Assad channeling simultaneously Nina Simone and Clara Nunes, with a smidge of Carmen Miranda in there for good measure. Ms. Assad is the daughter of Sergio Assad, and she draws on a wide range of influences, with a rugged form of mainstream jazz being perhaps the dominant strain -- plenty of keyboard flights and adventurous scat singing and other vocal explorations, along with swift, sure accompaniment by percussionists Keita Ogawa and Yousif Sheronick. Assad pays homage to Braz-jazz icon Elis Regina in the opening medley, and covers several Brazilian standards, notably Ary Barroso's "Aquarelas Do Brasil," which she reframes as a slow, tribal chant. This isn't really my cup of tea, but I can see where jazz fans might dig it.

Clarice Assad "Imaginarium" (Adventure Music, 2014)
(Produced by Clarice Assad & Keita Ogawa)

Odair & Sergio Assad - see artist discography

Assim Assado "Assim Assado" (CID, 1974)
Cluttered but credible glam-prog from a band that was so into the band Secos & Molhados that they named themselves after a Secos song, and their album cover was a parody of the Secos record where the glammed-up bandmembers heads are served up on silver platters: in the Assim Assado version, they are floating in an inelegant pot of stew... This disc is mostly a curio of the era -- the musical elements are similar, but the delivery is pretty clumsy, and it feels self-consciously derivative. Still, it is real-deal, old-school Brazilian weirdo-rock, and also notable for the participation of singer Miguel de Deus, formerly of the garage band Os Brazoes, a guy who later went on to record a solo album that was a major Brazilian funk gem. This album is definitely worth checking out, just don't get your hopes up too high.

Itamar Assumpcao - see artist discography

Astor & Luiz Eca "Cada Qual Melhor" (Odeon, 1961)
(Artistic director: Ismael Correa)

Pianist Luiz Eca, paired up with bandleader/trombonist Astor Silva, puts his chops on display, running through what I imagine must have been his standard nightclub set at the time. The opening tracks display a remarkable dynamism and innovation -- Eca really digs into the ivories on "E Luxo So" and "Yesterdays." The set swiftly devolves into tedium, though, with by-the-numbers, slightly bossa-fied versions of American standards such as " 'S Wonderful," "Cheek To Cheek" and "Moonglow," as well as Brazilian chestnuts like Ary Barroso's "Aquarela Do Brasil" and a few more contemporary tunes. Like I said, it's clearly a nightclub set, put on wax inside a studio setting... Eca stands out on a few tunes, but Astor's mellow, well-rounded brass arrangements are unremarkable and unmoving. A very professional record, but nothing to get too excited about.

(Lord) Astor "E Dancar" (Odeon/Imperial, 1961)

Astor E Sua Orchestra "Samba! So Samba!" (Columbia, 1963)
A swinging, uptempo set with samba-cancao classics and (then) newly-minted bossa hits, all done in the same juggernaut-style big band samba style. It's a little too rigid and unemotive for me; too much of a music machine. But if you like Perez Prado's more pop-oriented albums, and would be interested in hearing something similar from a Brazilian angle, this album might wow you. Good musicianship, just sort of mechanically delivered.

Carlos Augusto "Serie Bis - Cantores Do Radio" (EMI-Brasil, 2000)
A syrupy singer specializing in the classic Latin American bolero, Carlos Augusto eschewed the hometown rhythm of the samba in favor of the lush romanticism of the ballroom sound. These Portuguese-language dance tunes seem to have been written mainly by Brazilians, although the style is definitely an import from el mundo espanol. Still, his vocals aren't overly corny, and the early '60s arrangements are also forceful but demure. A nice example of Brazil's participation in the wider Latin America culture.

Carlos Augusto "A Cara Do Recife"

Sergio Augusto "Barquinho Diferente" (Continental, 1961)
(Produced by Luis A. A. Botelho & Rodolfo Viana Queiroz)

A really sweet set that showcases some swinging, cheerful melodies and many of the hallmarks of the early bossa/bossa jazz years, but with a distinctive feel, largely due to Francisco de Mello Moraes's expansive, elegant arrangements. I'm not sure who was in the backing band, but it's clearly one of the many bossa-jazz bands of the era, playing with a relaxed feel that sets this record apart from the manic Brazilian jazz that was common at the time. For his part, Augusto is a very personable, appealing singer -- youthful, suave yet unpretentious, inviting -- and he really owns this album. Claudette Soares, who helped him start his career, duets on one song, "Amar E Bom," and they sound quite good together. Includes several original songs co-written with Alvaro Muniz, as well as three by sambist Roberto Ribeiro and some early bossa tunes by folks like Luiz Bonfa, Carlos Lyra and Marcos Valle. And of course, there's Augusto's own version of "Barquinho Diferente," a song he wrote in honor of Roberto Menescal that was widely recorded in the early '60s, particularly by jazz artists such as Zimbo Trio, Manfredo Fest, et al. Definitely recommended.

Aum "Belorizonte" (Bemol, 1983) (LP)
Decent, dreamy soft-toned fusion jazz, with a bit of an art-rock feel. If it weren't for the the saxophone, parts of this could almost pass as a Giant Sand album, though when they go in a more acoustic direction, the guitars get more John McLaughlin-y. I may be giving this band more credit than it deserves -- this is an obscurity, but not quite a lost gem. There's very little going on compositionally; basically they're just kind of noodling around, and all three tracks on Side One sound nearly identical to me. On Side Two they break into different sounds - louder, fuzzier electric guitar -- but there are still few well-defined thematic moments, just some more amorphous jamming.

Aurino - Seu Sax E Conjunto "Saturday Night" (RCA, 1960)

Autoramas "Stress, Depressao E Sindrome Do Panico" (Universal, 2000)
Lead singer Gabriel Thomaz made his name as a songwriter, placing hits with alt-y '90s BRock bands such as Ultraje a Rigor before founding this New Wave-ish/retro combo as a way to explore more diverse rock'n'roll styles...

Autoramas "Vida Real" (Dubas, 2001)

Autoramas "Nada Pode Parar Os Autoramas" (Tratore, 2003)

Autoramas "Teletransporte" (Tratore, 2007)

Autoramas "MTV Apresenta Autoramas Desplugado" (Globaldisc, 2009)

Autoramas "Musica Crocante" (Coqueiro Verde, 2011)

Autoramas "RRRRRRRROCK" (Tratore, 2005)

Autoramas "Mucho Gusto" (Tratore, 2007)

Jorge Autuori Trio "Jorge Autuori Trio, v.1" (Rosemblit/Whatmusic)

Jorge Autuori Trio "Jorge Autuori Trio, v.2" (Rosemblit/Whatmusic)

Jorge Autuori Trio "Ovalo" (RCA, 1969)
(Produced by Rildo Hora & Romeo Nunes)

Most "classic" Brazilian jazz from the 1960s leaves me pretty cold, but this is a noteworthy record. The "jazz trio" scene of the early part of the decade permitted great mediocrity and endlessly clattersome performances, all the more remarkable since many of these musicians were also key players in the breathtaking subtlety of the bossa nova sound. Anyway, this is drummer Jorge Autouri's third album and his first for the RCA label, and on it he covers some of the coolest, slickest new music to be found, including songs by Jorge Ben, Roberto Carlos, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, as well as medleys of classic samba cancao songs from decades gone by. It's not surprising that he also performs a string of songs written by Martinho Da Vila, since Da Vila's longtime producer, samba-jazz swinger Rildo Hora plays the guitar on this album. Now, to be honest, like most of the Brazilian jazz of the era, I don't think this album is really all that great -- the playing still seems rushed and heavy-handed -- but it's certainly a notch or two above many similar albums. Autuori invests more emotion and nuance into the style than many of his contemporaries, and occasionally hits a moment of grace... The one standout track turns out to be the album's only original composition, a sweet tune called "Canto Azul," which was cowritten with bassist Edson Bastos... It's on this brief, incandescent number that pianist Edson Frederico finally slows down and plays expressively, and the haunting notes that close the album out make you turn your head and wonder: why didn't they play like that on the rest of the record??

Avanco 5 "Somos Jovens" (Fama, 1969)
An odd album from the fringes of 1960's Brazilian pop... The disc is evenly split between super-generic surfy/Viscounts-ish pop-rock instrumentals -- total toss-off material -- and some pretty fun rock songs with most lyrics in Portuguese. I don't know the band's backstory, but apparently they also recorded an EP with Tony Campello, titled "Ritmos da Juventude." (Love to check that out some day!) Anyway, several of these tracks are good for dropping into a jovem guarda teenybopper rock mix. Definitely worth checking out.

Ave Sangria "Ave Sangria" (Continental, 1975) (LP)
Another fascinating obscuro-oldie from the heady days of Brazil's freakiest, hippie-esque pop era... Apparently this Northeastern band had a reputation as sort of a glam act - wearing lipstick, etc., but what sticks out on the record itself is the mix of nordestino styles -- acoustic music with prominent bandolim and regional percussion, similar to what Quinteto Violado was doing at the same time -- and freaky acid rock, with fuzzy, noodly electric lead guitar and flights of crunchy distortion. Folks who like Lula Cortes should dig this too -- apparently the band had been taken under the wing of Cortes' Satwa collaborator, Lailson; Mutantes fans will also like the band's far-flung, schizophrenic start-and-stop meter shifting and stream-of-consciousness lyrical style. More kooky stuff to explore.

Norma Avian "A Voz Revelacao" (Odeon, 1957)

Norma Avian "Piccolissima Serenata" (Columbia, 1958)

Axial "Senoide" (Tratore, 2008)

Mariana Aydar "Kavita 1" (Universal, 2007)

Mariana Aydar "Brasil, Sons E Sabores" (YB Music, 2007)

Mariana Aydar "Peixes Passaros Pessoas" (Universal-Zoom, 2009)

Mariana Aydar "Cavaleiro Selvagem Aqui Te Sigo" (Universal-Zoom, 2007)

Luiz Ayrao - see artist discography

Nelson Ayres "Mantiqueria" (Som De Gente, 1981)

Nelson Ayres "Perto Do Coracao" (Atracao, 2004)

Azambuja & Companhia "Azambuja & Companhia" (CID, 1975) (LP)
(Produced by Durval Ferreira)

A spinoff of the comedic television show that featured the musical duo of Chico Anysio and Arnaud Rodrigues... Haven't heard this one, but I'm curious.

Berenice Azambuja "Dose Dupla" (WEA, 2007)
A reissue of two self-titled albums...

Azes Do Samba "Azes Do Samba" (Girasom, 1973)

Anastacia Azevedo "Lumere Lumera" (Piranha, 1999)

Anastacia Azevedo "Amanaiara" (Piranha, 2004)
An aggressive, kinetic mix of Northeastern music and various brands of rock, funk and reggae from a Cearan expatriate now living in Berlin... The forro aspects drop out of the picture after the first few tunes, and a thumping rock sensibility takes over... The prominence of a sharp-sounding snare drum undercuts comparisons to the funky manguebeat scene, and nudges this more towards a plain rock sound, with lots of filigreed keyboards and harmony vocals. I wouldn't exactly say this sounds cluttered, but it is a little more forceful and angular than I like my Brazilian pop, a feeling that is heightened by Azevedo's piercing vocal style. This didn't really wow me, but I could see its appeal for folks eager for a more modernized style; maybe if it were a little softer around the edges, I could get more into it.

Geraldo Azevedo - see artist discography

Leonel Azevedo "Estorias De Amor" (Revivendo, 2002)
A 3-CD box set of songs by Leonel Azevedo...

Waldir Azevedo - see artist discography

Cristina Azuma "Violao" (1986)
Acoustic guitar from a Brazilian-born virtuoso who went on to study and teach at the Sorbonne... She also has several albums released in France that are not readily available elsewhere...

Cristina Azuma "No Palacio De La Guitarra" (Tartaruga, 1993)

Cristina Azuma "E De Lei: Guitare Du Bresil" (Loco & LEV, 1994)

Cristina Azuma "Contatos" (GSP, 1995)

Cristina Azuma & Celso Machado "Misterios Do Rio Lento" (M.S.A Voice Of Lyrics, 1998)

Cristina Azuma "Santiago De Murcia" (Frame Records, 2007)

Cristina Azuma "Dreams" (GSP, 2011)

Cristina Azuma & Paulo Bellinati "Pingue-Pongue" (Delira Musica, 2011)

Azymuth - see artist discography

Brazilian Music - Letter "B"

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