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Ze Maria portrait Bandleader Ze Maria was an organist in somewhat of the same style as the better-known Walter Wanderley, although Maria's work in the '60s had a more modern, more post-bossa pop feel, while Wanderley stayed in more of a bossa nova and lounge music mode. I don't know much about Ze Maria's career -- I first discovered him from his 1963 album with Jorge Ben singing a couple of songs, but can't find many mentions of him in the annals... Anyone got more info about this very intriguing artist?


Ze Maria "Ritmos De Danca" (Continental, 1957)

Ze Maria "Ritmos De Danca, v.2" (Continental, 1957)

Ze Maria "...E Seu Piano De Prata" (Continental, 1958)

Ze Maria "Voce Quer Dancar?" (Continental, 1959)

Ze Maria "Presente Musical" (Internacional, 1959)

Ze Maria "Cha-Cha-Cha & Cia" (Tiger, 1961?)

Ze Maria "Tudo Azul - Bossa E Balanco" (Continental, 1963)
Here's a real find! Jorge Ben performing with organist Ze Maria and his band. Ben sings on a couple of his own tunes ("Mais Que Nada" and "Por Causa De Voce Menina"), presumably before he signed up with Philips Records. The roller-rinky accompaniment was nowhere near as funky or soulful as Ben's own solo work would be, but is sure is a kick to hear his youthful voice piping up amid the dit-dit-dit perkiness of Maria's brisk little ensemble. Other artists whose work is covered -- mostly in instrumental versions -- include Carlos Lyra, Joao Mello, Jobim (of course) and several songs by Orlandivo, as well as one oldie by samba composer Joao De Barro. Kitschy and cute, and an interesting early step in the career of one of Brazil's greatest pop stars.

Ze Maria "Esquema '64: Bossa Nova E Balanco" (Continental, 1964)
Very cool. Having worked with Jorge Ben in '63, Ze Maria canny copies Ben's swinging samba-soul sound on this dynamic, bouncy album, which really sounds exactly like one of Jorge Ben's records of the same vintage, just with a few too many organ solos and slightly too-perky vocal chorus. But the percussion sizzles and the guitarist adds clever, nimble punctuation throughout. (The guitars are credited to "Geraldinho..." possibly this was Geraldo Vespar??) Also, this album includes "Dabliu De Bliboque" written by Bob Nelson, a elusive figure who recorded a fascinating mix of samba and cowboy-western music in the 1940s: Maria's albums (including one below) are the only other places I've seen Nelson referenced, other than on a reissue CD that came out several years ago. Very tantalizing. Anyway, this is a sweet, soulful, high-energy album that was on the cutting edge of Brazilian pop, and a must-hear for fans of early Jorge Ben... Definitely worth tracking down.

Ze Maria "Nova Onda" (RCA Victor, 1964)

Ze Maria "Bossa & Balanco S/A" (Continental, 1965) (LP)
A pretty swinging set with snazzy drumming, energetic organ, and perky group vocals from an unidentified soloist and chorus, and an equally mysterious "girl" singer who chimes in for a couple of lines on one song, and swiftly disappears. It's fun stuff! Also worth noting is the off-the-beaten track repertoire with a bunch of lesser-known composers, far afield from the bossa nova canon that was so dominant at the time. Highlights include the peppy "Balanco Do Ganso," another uptempo number by samba-cancao composer Bob Nelson, an artist I'd love to learn more about. Anyway, I really enjoyed this album.

Ze Maria "Ritmo Quente" (RCA Victor, 1966)
Less suave, more manic, Maria leads an overly-perky vocal group through a bouncy set of mod-pop samba songs... While he dit-dit-dits through a nonstop barrage of fast-paced organ riffs, the singers chirp along, with the gals keening away in the same shrill tone that female samba de roda choruses added to the roots-samba partido alto recordings of the era -- it's a weird fit with the goofball pop sound. This is a very upbeat album, but a little hard to listen to... although certainly a fine novelty record, if you can track it down. Personally, I think they were all popping pills, but they also seem to have been having fun.

Ze Maria "No Forno E Fogao" (Odeon, 1973) (LP)
Possibly his last album(?) though I'm not sure... Also haven't heard it yet. By the way, anyone know more about Ze Maria? I'm all ears.


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