Brazilian Album Reviews

This is a listing of miscellaneous albums and artists under the letter "L"
If an artist or album you like is not reviewed here, please feel free
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Benedito Lacerda & Pixinguinha "Benedito Lacerda E Pixinguinha" (RCA Camden, 1966)
Some of the finest and most dazzlingly pure choro instrumentals by two masters of the genre, flautist Benedito Lacerda and multi-instrumentalist Alfredo Da Rocha Viana Filho, better known as Pixinguinha. This album of vintage recordings was first compiled in 1966, reviving classic melodies such as "1 x 0," "Naquele Tempo" and "Andre De Zapato Novo" for a generation that had since moved on to the charms of bossa nova and the pop-jazz hybrids of MPB. The original allure of these zippy tunes comes through loud and clear, though -- these tracks were recorded between 1946-50 (though many of the compositions are much older) and feature both performers at the peak of their powers. There's plenty of overlap between this disc and other Pixinguinha retrospectives, but there's something nice about hearing the music as it was first revisited by the Brazilians of the bossa nova era. Also, this is a very strong presentation, with a lean, compact selection of songs that wastes no time bringing out the best music the style has to offer. Highly recommended!

Benedito Lacerda "Minha Flauta De Prata" (Revivendo, 2005)

Benedito Lacerda/Various Artists "Bene, O Flautista" (Maritaca, 2008)
A stunning 4-CD set covering the career of fabled Brazilian flautist Benedito Lacerda (1900-1958), who is best known for his work with saxophonist and choro pioneer Pixinguinha, but who also recorded profilically with many of the greatest samba stars of the 1930s and '40s. This collection includes many of his most famous recordings, including a flurry of dazzling duets recordings from the 1940s that included lively, definitive versions of instrumental duets with Pixinguinha, as well as classic samba-cancao tracks from Francisco Alves, Silvio Caldas, Carlos Galhardo, Carmen Miranda, Mario Reis and other stars of the 1930s, as well as numerous recordings of Lacerda's own bands, Grupo Gente Do Morro and Velha Guarda de Almirante. Some of the greatest treasures come from the Grupo Gente recordings (an entire disc's worth!) that often feature Lacerda singing, as well as taking the lead on his flute. The sound of his pixielike piping laces through all these recordings, and is remarkably familiar to anyone who has delved into the music of this era -- nice to finally put a name to the face, as it were! There is significant overlap between this set and other recent reissues -- notably the CD reissue of RCA's old Lacerda-Pixinguinha LP -- but you'd be hard pressed to find any music fans who will complain about the duplication. Personally, I could listen to this stuff for days on end. Just start off with the jaw-dropping "1 x 0," perhaps the best-known Pixinguinha tune, and you will be in awe of Lacerda's technical skill and soulfulness. This beautiful, compact box set includes a capacious, chatty, authoritative booklet that gives background on all the songs, steers you towards more modern versions, and provides much-welcome biographical sketches of dozens of Lacerda's collaborators -- bandleaders, composers, guitarists, percussionists, singers -- that will help fill in a lot of gaps in ones general knowledge of the early 20th Century Brazilian music scene. A great, great box set -- highly recommended!

Genival Lacerda - see artist discography

(Quarteto) Lacos "Concerto Show -- Gravado Ao Vivo" (Som Livre, 1976)
A wide-ranging, energetic live show, featuring Luiz Eca on piano, and a sharp-edged, alert jazz ensemble, backing vocalist Claudia Versiani. The repertoire is mainly composed of solid, mid-'70s MPB, but with a distinct jazz edge to the performances, ranging in tone from near-free jazz and fusion to a pleasantly updated version of the uptempo style practiced in the bossa days. Marcos Paulo (apparently a popular Brazilian actor?) also contributes some dramatic spoken word pieces atop brooding musical backing, poems by Ruy Guerra and others -- the musical elements are more compelling, but the poetry is a nice change of pace. In some ways this is a slightly odd album, but overall it's rather strong; a good indicator of the vibrancy and power of the 1970s Brazilian music scene.

Lady Zu "A Noite Vai Chegar" (Philips, 1977)

Lady Zu "Femea Brasileira" (Philips, 1979)

Lady Zu "Number One" (Abril, 2002)

Nubia Lafayette - see artist discography

Mario Lago/Various Artists "NADA ALEM" (tribute album) (Som Livre, 1991)
Guest performers abound in this heartfelt tribute to velha guarda poet-actor-songwriter Mario Lago, whose professional career began in the 1930s, when samba cancao stars such as Atualfo Alves, Carmen Miranda, Mario Reis and Orlando Silva recorded his early hits. The songs have a very distinctive feel to them; Lago certainly had a "sound," which I suppose could be typified as not-too-lachrymose saudade, a romantic sense of longing and sadness... Although Lago is pictured on the album cover, I don't think he actually performs on the disc -- no matter, with elegant performances by Gal Costa, Paulinho Da Viola, Nelson Goncalves, Ivone Lara and Raphael Rabello, this tribute disc has its share of talent... Most of the arrangements are cheesy, but some are real gems, particularly Costa's reading of the title track, "Nada Alem."

Mario Lago/Various Artists "90 Anos" (Revivendo, 2003)

Guilherme Lamounier - see artist discography

Domenico (Lancellotti) +2 "Sincerely Hot" (Pingpong, 2003)
An atypical band, seeking an atypical audience, this trio was known a year earlier as Moreno Veloso +2, gaining widespread praise in Brazil and abroad for an alluring mix of indie rock, electronica and modernized MPB. Part of their acclaim came from the presence of Moreno himself, son of the mega-superstar Caetano Veloso, who showed much of his father's adventurous musical spirit and relaxed performance style. But, having established itself as a "world music" band to content with, the Plus Twos went ahead and followed the ultrademocratic game plan they'd set out with at the start, to have each of the band members record a disc under their name... This time around, it's drummer Domenico's turn, and the shift in musical direction is quite remarkable... This album boasts a pronouncedly modern, American-style tilt towards brash, bright electronic pop and indierock motifs worthy of any critic's darling out of Seattle, Portland or Chicago. The band dips into some softer, textured melodies that borrow from the bossa nova stylebook, but for the most part the point seems to be to make sure that we can see that the kids in Brazil are keeping up with hipsters in the rest of the world. This disc may not have the same mellow, mystic allure as their debut, but it's still pretty darn good, and consistently engaging. Worth checking out! (See also: the +2 discography page.)

Domenico Lancellotti "Cine Prive" (Malintenti Dischi, 2011)

Ivor Lancellotti "Cantador De Rua" (EMI-Odeon, 1986) (LP)

Ivor Lancellotti "Ivor Lancellotti" (1990)

Ivor Lancellotti "Ivor Lancellotti" (Dabliu, 2000)

Ivor Lancellotti "Bolero Eterno" (2004)

Ivor Lancellotti "Em Boas E Mais Companhias" (Dubas, 2010)

Dona Ivone Lara - see artist discography

Odette Lara & Vinicius De Moraes "Vinicius + Odette Lara" (Elenco/Polygram, 1963)
Bossa nova with a playful edge. Poet/songwriter Vinicius De Moraes, sort of a bossa beatnik, is teamed up with actress Odette Lara, who acquits herself quite well in the role of Brazil's Brigitte Bardot. Vinicius' vocals are whisper-y, conversational and penetrating, and Lara's are appropriately lush and sultry -- on duets, their voices don't always mesh, but since they mostly trade off on the songs, it doesn't matter much. Features the tune, "Berimbau", which is credited with helping re-popularize the twangy folk instrument of the same name. Strong arrangements and solid delivery make this one well worth checking out.

Odette Lara "Contrastes" (Elenco, 1966)
There may be a reason why actress Odete Lara is seldom mentioned when the greats of the bossa nova generation are recalled... In all honesty, it may mostly be because she didn't really have all that great a voice. The arrangements are vintage Aloysio Oliveira/Maestro Gaya Elenco label bossa-pop, but all the studio talent assembled behind her couldn't save this album from foundering under the weight of Lara's sluggish, lumpen vocals. It's not exactly awful... it just doesn't measure up that well to all the stellar music that was being recorded in Brazil around the same time.

Lazzo "Viver, Sentir E Amar" (Pointer, 1983) (LP)

Brazilian Music - More Letter "L"

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