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Tim Maia portrait Tim Maia (1942-1998) was one of Brazil's first exponents of North American-style soul and funk music, as well as one of the country's first rockers. In the late 'Fifties, he was in a rock band with future superstar Roberto Carlos; in '58 Maia moved to the U.S.A., where he stayed for several years before being deported for drug possession in 1964. His first handful of albums in the 1970s were watersheds for Brazilian pop -- along with Jorge Ben, Maia was one of the main architects of Brazilian funk, although Maia's taste ran towards softer pop material and later towards disco and synth-heavy pop crossovers. A party animal 'til the end, Maia suffered a heart attack while performing in concert, and died about a week later. Many of his songs are MPB standards, particularly with soul-oriented performers such as Jorge Ben and Daude, although he also enjoyed early success as a songwriter when jazz diva Elis Regina covered his material. His nephew, Ed Motta, took up the cause in the 1980s, recording his own mix of danceable funk and romantic soul.

Discography - Best-Ofs

Tim Maia "Sem Limite" (Philips, 2001)
An outstanding 2-CD retrospective which sticks pretty strictly to Maia's 1970-75 glory days... This equally represents his strengths and his weaknesses -- you get a sense of the limitations of the Brazilian soul scene without being bludgeoned by its cheesiness, but you also can hear how Maia had a feel for genuinely funky material. Plus, this is a generously packed, budget priced twofer -- you can save yourself a lot of hardship by picking this up rather than searching the four corners of the globes for reissues of the albums themselves. Despite the minimalist packaging, this is the record to look for.

Tim Maia "Universal" (Box Set) (Universal-Brasil, 2010)
An 8-CD box set reissuing the several hard-to-find albums from this crucial founding member of Brazil's hardcore '70s funk and soul scene. To be honest, Maia's stuff doesn't always do it for me, but his influence is undeniable, and cratediggers and other funk fans will be glad for a chance to check out these perennially hard-to-find albums... Includes his self-titled albums from 1970, 1971, '72, '73, '76, and 1980, as well as O Descobridor Dos Sete Mares Sufocante, along with a concert DVD recorded in the late 1980s.

Tim Maia "A Arte De Tim Maia" (Philips)

Tim Maia "O Melhor De" (Philips)

Tim Maia/Cassiano/Hyldon "Velhos Camarados" (PolyGram, 1992)
Yeesh. Yecch. Blechh! Lots of extremely cheesy album tracks from three Brazilian soul singers, recorded between 1970 and '76. Of the three, Cassiano veers the most towards disco; Maia's stuff is mostly taken from his 1970 album on Philips. I wouldn't recommend this as a place to start if you wanted to look into this branch of Brazilian pop.

Tim Maia/Cassiano/Hyldon "Velhos Camarados, v.2" (PolyGram, 2002)

Tim Maia "Minha Historia" (Philips, 1993)
The earlier soul-pop material on this compilation (which covers his career from 1970-1984) is kind of cute, but not great. The later stuff -- which draws equally from Michael Jackson and Barry White -- is just awful. I don't listen to that stuff in English; why go for it here?

Tim Maia "Sufocante" (Polygram, 1998)

Tim Maia "Millennium" (Polygram, 1998)

Tim Maia "Vou Pedir Pra Voce Voltar" (Universal, 1998)

Tim Maia "Romantico" (Som Livre, 1999)

Tim Maia/Various Artists "Soul Tim Duetos" (Som Livre, 2000)
Apparently, this is a Natalie Cole-style posthumous "duets" album, with folks such as Sandra De Sa, Luiz Melodia, Banda Black Rio, Emilio Santiago and DJ Cuca pitching in. Some of these tracks may have been made during Maia's lifetime, but many clearly were not. I haven't heard it yet, but I'm also not in a big hurry.

Tim Maia "The Soul Of Brazil" (Universal, 2008)

Discography - Albums

Tim Maia "Tim Maia" (Philips, 1970)
(Produced by Tim Maia, Jairo Pires & Arnaldo Saccomani)

This is Maia's first full-length album, and lemme tell you, it's a doozy... (at least the first half of it is)... Maia's band had a crackling rhythm section, with tight, funky-drummer-style percussion. He's in pretty fine form, too - with the sound of an artist fresh out the gate and eager to prove himself. The kind of langor and overly-laid back feel of subsequent albums is notably absent here, although on the second half of the record does get a little yowlpy and bombastic. This also has several of his best-known songs, including several which are covered by other artists. Good one to check out, if you come across it.

Tim Maia "Tim Maia" (Philips, 1971)
(Produced by Tim Maia)

Touted as a pioneer of Brazilian funk and soul, Maia's name often gets dropped as a historic figure in Brazilian pop. This is one of his earliest records -- mainly light soul-pop, of the "Cry Like A Baby" variety, with intriguing sprinkles of Northeastern forro music on several tunes. Compared to all the Timmy Thomas stuff that was big on AM radio in the U.S. at the time, this holds up pretty well. Still, it's not exactly my cup of tea.

Tim Maia "Tim Maia" (Philips, 1972)
(Produced by Tim Maia)

Tim Maia "Tim Maia" (Philips, 1973)
(Produced by Tim Maia & Jairo Pires)

Still keeping pace with mellow North American soft-soul, Maia is in a super-mellow groove on this one. You might do better just picking up an old Spinners album, or maybe the O'Jays, though this has some cool moments; the tracks sung in English are (perversely) the best material on here...

Tim Maia "Racional" (Seroma, 1974)

Tim Maia "Racional, Vol. 2" (Seroma, 1976)

Tim Maia "Tim Maia" (Philips, 1976)
(Produced by Tim Maia & Ary Carvalhaes)

Another great album title, isn't it? Seriously, though, this is one of his best albums, with a heavier orchestral-disco sound to it, and some pleasantly baroque arrangements. Apparently Maia also got the bug for Marvin Gaye-style socially conscious lyrics -- the train of thought on "Brother, Father, Sister and Mother" is a little elusive, but you can see the general direction we're headed in. This disc is definitely worth checking out -- Maia's vocals are pretty solid, and the band really kicks it on several tracks.

Tim Maia "Tim Maia" (Som Livre, 1977)

Tim Maia "Disco Club" (Warner/Atlantic, 1978)
(Reissued in 1995 as "Sossego")

Tim Maia "Tim Maia" (1978)

Tim Maia "Reencontro E Tim Maia" (EMI-Odeon, 1979)

Tim Maia "Tim Maia" (Polydor, 1980)

Tim Maia "Nuvens" (Seroma/Independente, 1982)

Tim Maia "O Descobridor Dos Sete Mares" (Polygram/Lanca, 1983)

Tim Maia "Me De Motivo" (1984)

Tim Maia "Tim Maia" (RCA Victor, 1985)
Another great album title...!

Tim Maia "Tim Maia (Telefone)" (Continental, 1986)

Tim Maia "Somos America" (Continental, 1987)

Tim Maia "Carinhos" (Continental, 1988)

Tim Maia "Dance Bem" (Continental, 1990)

Tim Maia "Tim Maia Interpreta Classicos Da Bossa Nova" (Vitoria Regia, 1991)

Tim Maia "Ao Vivo" (Warner/Continental, 1992)

Tim Maia "Voltou Clarear" (Vitoria Regia, 1993)
How does he do it...?

Tim Maia "Novo Era Glacial" (Warner/Vitoria Regia, 1997)

Tim Maia "So Voce -- Para Ouvir E Dancar" (Vitoria Regia, 1997)

Tim Maia "What A Wonderful World" (Vitoria Regia, 1997)

Tim Maia & Os Cariocas "Amigos Do Rei" (Vitoria Regia, 1997)

Tim Maia "Sorriso Da Crianca" (Vitoria Regia, 1997)

Tim Maia/Jorge Ben Jor "Dancando A Noite Inteira" (Universal, 1997)

Tim Maia "Pro Meu Grande Amor" (Vitoria Regia, 1997)

Tim Maia "Ao Vivo, v.2" (2002)

Tributes & Related Records

Eduardo Araujo "A Onda E Boogaloo" (Odeon, 1969)
Wow... this is pretty cool. Singer Eduardo Araujo strikes me as an artist who was kind of constantly in search of a "new sound" to latch onto. He was one of the early jovem guarda '60s teenie-bopper rockers, and got a little wiggier in the '70s... This 1969 pop-soul album is a transitional record, but one that shows he could have done quite well pursuing a career singing soul music... He had a much stronger sense of American-style phrasing and a stronger band than many of the self-styled "Black Rio" artists such as Cassiano and Hylton who took up the mantle in the 1970s. His secret weapon was --ta-da!! -- none other than Tim Maia, who was about to bust out on his own as a solo artist on the Philips label. Maia wrote punchy new arrangements for the numerous cover tunes on here, which range from Smokey Robinson's "Same Old Song" to Arthur Conley's "Funky Street," and for whatever reason this album avoids most of the clumsiness or self-consciousness that many similar imitations of American pop frequently suffer from. Araujo also covers an early Maia composition, "Voce," which would later appear on one of Maia's albums (reviewed above). Together, Araujo and Maia really "got" the magical mix of rock and soul sensibility that late '60s soul singers such as Sam & Dave or Wilson Pickett created up North. This is an unusually strong album for the style... definitely recommended!


  • Brazzil Magazine has a very informative online article, written as an elegy after Maia died of a heart attack. The article quickly gets to the heart of Maia's live fast, die young, tell everyone else to get bent life philosophy... Sounds like the guy was a real handful!

  • MPB Net has a nice (Portuguese language) entry on Maia, taken from the Encilopedia da Musica Brasileira

  • Clique Music has an excellent profile of Maia, including a complete discography, and links to related sites. (In Portuguese.)

  • Movimento Do Soul Do Rio De Janeiro pays tribute to dozens of Brazilian soul and funk singers... Well, actually it looks as if their site is still a work in progress... a link is set aside for a Tim Maia page, but the entry isn't up there quite yet... Still, I'd say this site is worth keeping an eye on. (In Portuguese.)

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