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Wagner Tiso portrait One of Milton Nascimento's old-time collaborators and a prolific accompanist, keyboard player Wagner Tiso embodies the fusion-y and smooth-jazz tendencies of the Brazilian pop and jazz players that came out of the 1970s MPB scene... I've found it difficult to get into his work, but if anyone has suggestions for specific albums I might like better, I am all ears.


Som Imaginario "Som Imaginario" (Odeon, 1970)
A wildly diverse and expansive prog-psychedelic rock record which set the bar for Brazilian prog records in the decade to come. Ze Rodrix was in the initial lineup of the band (only for this first album) joining keyboardist Wagner Tiso and guitarist Frederyko, who had worked together as part of Milton Nascimento's "Clube Do Esquina" entourage. This was a real landmark for Brazilian rock...

Som Imaginario "Som Imaginario" (Nova Estrela) (Odeon, 1971)
An impressive set of remarkably forward-thinking psychedelic hard-rock and jam-band prog, with heavy, grungy guitars and spacy, Pink Floyd-ian astral flights, and only a few dips into the absurdist carnival burlesques of the Os Mutantes crowd. Mostly, this is a solid rock record, one that stands up toe to toe with anything coming out of the US or the UK at the time. Often Brazilians, like other "foreign" rockers, were a little bit behind the Anglo pioneers, but in this case, they were right up there at the head of the pack. Ze Rodrix had left the band, but Frederyko's guitars, soaring into cosmic territory, more than make up for it. Some stuff is "a bit much," but mostly this is a very strong album: you can see why this band had such a big influence on Brazilian rock... Definitely worth checking out!

Som Imaginario "Matanca Do Porco" (Odeon, 1973)
Wagner Tiso takes over as the primary songwriter on almost all these songs, delving deep into fusion-y, spacy, indulgent jams with his keyboards front and center... Here, the band is scaled back to a four-piece combo, with Tavito on guitar, Alves on bass and Robertinho holding down the drums, with guest performers such as Milton Nascimento and Danilo Caymmi in the mix, and ex-integrante Frederyko chiming in on a few tracks... Overall this is just a little too groovy and gooey for me, a clear portent of where Tiso's solo work would take him later in the decade. Listeners drawn to the hard rock/prog of earlier Som Imaginario may be less thrilled by this album, though fans of fusion bands such as Azymuth or Return To Forever, etc., may really get into it. This compact lineup would follow Tiso for a while longer, backing Nascimento on the Milagre Dos Peixes album, below. After that Tiso went "solo," and they all continued to work prolifically as MPB session pros.

Milton Nascimento "Milagre Dos Peixes: Gravado Ao Vivo" (EMI, 1974)
(Produced by Milton Miranda & Lindolfo Gaya)

A revamped lineup of Som Imaginario backs Milton Nascimento on these passionate yet ponderous live performances from May, 1974... Toninho Horta joins Wagner Tiso, as well as a phalanx of orchestral players under the direction of Lindolfo Gaya, Radames Gnattali and Paulo Moura... The album opens with the oceanic, interminable classical-prog of Wagner Tiso's "A Matanca Do Porco/Xa Mate," and drifts into vaguely more "pop" material. For the most part, I find this whole album torturous to listen to, though if you are a Milton Nascimento aficianado, you'll definitely want to check it out. If nothing else, it gives a clear picture of the precision and clarity that Milton and his crew could summon in their live shows. It's on a par with his Clube Da Esquina albums, and doesn't fall into any of the easy formulae of his later albums. Definitely worth checking out. Also, the set list does not follow the Milagre Dos Peixes studio album, a lot of other material is included here, including intriguing covers of songs by Carlos Lyra and Tito Madi. The last hurrah of Som Imaginario, with the group coming full-circle back to their Clube Do Esquina origins.

Wagner Tiso "Wagner Tiso" (EMI-Odeon, 1978)
An early solo album, full of gushing orchestral swells and tinkling piano runs. Mostly, this disc is ridiculously florid and overblown -- like the most appalling John Williams score imaginable, although it does skirt on the edges of normalcy from time to time. His medley of the Nascimento-Tiso compositions, "Seis Horas Da Tarde/Minhero Pau," is basically a slight modernization of traditional themes (with electric keyboards in place of more standard instruments...) and has a mildly pleasant ear-bending quality to it. But this album is no great shakes, really. Milton Nascimento vocalizes on a few tunes, but not with much noticable impact.

Wagner Tiso "Assim Seja" (EMI-Odeon, 1979)

Wagner Tiso "Trem Mineiro" (EMI-Odeon, 1981)

Wagner Tiso "Toca Brasil -- Arraial Das Candongas" (BMG-Ariola, 1982)

Wagner Tiso & Cesar Camargo Mariano "Todas As Teclas" (Philips, 1983)
Two renowned Brazilian pianists team up for a mega-tacky electric keyboard cheesefest... Admittedly, there is some technically impressive playing going on here, but it's still pretty damn tacky and proggy. Not my cup of tea. (Also see: Cesar Camargo Mariano )

Wagner Tiso "Ao Vivo Na Europa" (BMG-Ariola, 1983)

Wagner Tiso "Coracao De Estudiante" (Barclay, 1985)

Wagner Tiso "Branco E Preto/Preto E Branco" (Barclay, 1986)

Wagner Tiso "Manu Carue" (1987)

Wagner Tiso "Giselle" (Verve, 1987)
A collection of hideous jazz-fusion/pseudo-classical keyboard-dominated cheese, from one of Milton Nascimento's old-time collaborators. Trust me - this is sooooooo much worse than you could ever imagine. Apparently this is actually a best-of release.

Wagner Tiso "Cine Brasil" (Polygram, 1989)

Wagner Tiso "Baobab" (Polygram, 1990)

Wagner Tiso "Profissao: Musica" (Polygram, 1991)

Wagner Tiso "Instrumental No CCCB: Wagner Tiso & Orquestra De Cordas Brasileira" (Tom Brasil, 1993)

Wagner Tiso "O Livro De Jo" (Soundtrack) (Jazzmania, 1995)

Wagner Tiso & Paulo Moura "Musica Viva" (Tom Brasil, 1996)

Wagner Tiso "A Ostra E O Vento" (Soundtrack) (Rob Digital, 1997)

Wagner Tiso "Debussy E Faure Encontram Milton E Tiso" (Trem Mineiro, 1998)
Backed by the Rio Cello Ensemble, Tiso explores the music of French composers Claude Debussy and Gabriel Faure... with a few of his own tunes added for good measure.

Wagner Tiso/Ney Matogrosso/Joao Carlos Assis Brasil "A Floresta Do Amazonas, A Villa-Lobos" (Kuarup, 1999)

Wagner Tiso & Ze Renato "Memorial" (Biscoito Fino, 2002)

Wagner Tiso & Salif Keita "Brazilian Scenes/Cenas Brasileiras" (Iris Music, 2003)

Wagner Tiso & Victor Biglione "Tocar A Poetica Do Som: Ao Vivo" (Albatroz, 2004)

Wagner Tiso "A Palavra Do Silencio" (Trem Mineiro, 2007)

Wagner Tiso "Um Som Imaginario: 60 Anos, v.1" (Trem Mineiro, 2007)

Wagner Tiso "Um Som Imaginario: 60 Anos, v.2" (Trem Mineiro, 2007)

Wagner Tiso "Tom Jobim/Villa-Lobos " (Trem Mineiro, 2007)

Wagner Tiso/Various Artists "Os Desafinados" (Soundtrack) (Dubas, 2008)

Wagner Tiso & Marcio Malard "Outras Cancoes De Cinema" (Biscoito Fino, 2011)


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