Singer Jackie Paris (L) and José (R).
José has written the liner notes for
hundreds of LPs and CDs around the world. What follows below is the
transcription of some of them that I could locate.
Waltel Branco, "Mancini Também é
Samba", Mocambo [Brazil] #40.261 (1965).[LP]
Waltel Branco, "Mancini Também é Samba", Whatmusic.com [UK] #WMCD-0014 (2002).[CD]
All Henry Mancini-composed tracks arranged by Waltel Branco and João Meirelles.
Mancini is also - Samba!
Jose Domingos Raffaelli reminisces on Mancini Tambem é Samba:
"I remember very clearly the recording of this LP," says renowned music critic and journalist Jose Domingos. "I was the staff writer for the liner notes of the Mocambo label in the mid 60s. In fact, the day that this Mancini LP was recorded, the same group recorded another complete LP's worth of material but I don't remember exactly the title."
Most people would have trouble remembering recordings they worked on a few years back, but when we got in touch with Jose Domingos, not only was his memory of that time pin sharp, but he even had his original typed sheets for the liner notes!
When whatmusic.com had tracked down a rare original of this LP we had guessed that the recording date was from 1966, judging from the players and the Mancini songs recorded. "That's right," confirms Domingos, these days a reporter for O Globo in Rio. "This recording was made sometime in 66. But it's hard to tell from the record. The owner of Mocambo had this thing about dates on records. Some labels were just lazy with their credits but Mocambo did it on purpose! The owner thought that if you put a date on a record then no one would buy it the following year because it would be out of date!"
The producer of Mancini Tambem é Samba was Jonas Silva, the one time manager of Murray Discos, a famous record store in downtown Rio where in the early to mid 50s the likes of Johnny Alf, Luiz Eça, Joao Donato and Joao Gilberto would hang out to hear the latest Sinatra or Stan Kenton LPs. "I remember Joao Gilberto used to stay there for hours listening intently to Chet Baker records and trying to exactly capture his singing style," says Raffaelli.
"Later Jonas became the producer at CBD - Polydor and, as we were friends, he asked me to write the liner notes to his productions. So it was natural that when he moved to Mocambo to become the house producer that I went too, to be the staff writer for liner notes. I knew all these musicians from the Beco das Garrafas where we all used to hang out - and where I used to play a little saxophone in those days!"
"For the recording Waltel Branco was the leader because he was the arranger but it was very much a group effort with everyone agreeing who would solo and so forth. As you can see there is no artist name on the cover. The players [Dom Salvador, Edson Maciel, Meirelles and so forth] were the best in the business at that time and it's interesting to see them playing this material, these tunes which everyone knows, but playing them in a totally new, fresh way"
Indeed one only has to listen to the opening
track Peter Gunn, where the all too obvious intro of the
original is neatly subverted into a sublime rhythmic signature by ace
drummer Vitor Manga. Likewise, such potentially sugary ballads as
Dear Heart are given a groovy uptempo feel with a great piano solo
from a very young Dom Salvador.
Like the man said, Mancini is also - Samba!
So here are the original liner notes, in the words of Jose Domingos Raffaelli [translated into English]:
We have the greatest pleasure in presenting an LP dedicated entirely to the music of the great North American composer Henry Mancini executed in modern samba rhythm!
Without doubt, this union of Mancini's themes with our beat was a truly joyous one, as his compositions adapted themselves so marvelously to the Brasilian popular rhythm.
The arranger Waltel Branco, who also directed the orchestra and the small groups on this recording, selected a number of our best Brasilian musicians from the current scene, all major talents and each considered one of the 'greats' of his instrument. They are artists ready to experiment and who improvise by design, with continuity and with great ideas.
Waltel Branco has written arrangements that are rich with nuances, with exciting passages, and at the same time he's given a freedom to the soloists to improvise with enthusiasm and with a naturalness. These are arrangements with a great deal of humour, good taste, simplicity and swing. In the passages arranged for small groups, Waltel extracts such a rich sonority that in certain moments, one could swear that it's the whole orchestra playing. The melodic variety of the orchestrations are also impressive in their form and content.
From the earliest rehearsals everyone present could sense that the players - all of them without exception - were imbued with a collective spirit that promised truly great things, contributing decisively to produce a most expressive sound and resulting in a highly significant recording.
All the soloists showed themselves to be 'out there' with their individual solo passages, magnificently taking advantage of each opportunity for improvisation. The young sax player Meirelles - one of our most versatile musicians and a perfect embodiment of the current spirit of our music - demonstrates his qualities in solos full of enthusiasm. Pedro Paulo, the trumpeter of the new generation, plays an excellent cross fertilisation of ideas in well organised solos. The pianist Salvador, shows us solos that swing with invention. Edson Maciel, that well known trombonist, confirms all the qualities that everyone has long known him to possess. Likewise, the guitarist Neco also demonstrates his virtuosity in improvising with flexibility, corresponding to all expectations. Then there's the rhythm section which provides sustenance of the first order and which carries the soloists to improvise to the maximum of their inspiration.
The fans of musica popular moderna are surely blessed by this recording. This LP reunites the compositions of the one of the of the greatest writers of our time with the superior execution by musicians who are writ large on the panorama of today's modern Brasilian music. These guys have taken advantage of moments of sheer joy that have been transformed into this formidable Mancini Tambem é Samba!
Jose Domingos Raffaelli 1966
Translation © 2002 whatmusic.com
[Original LP album scans courtesy of Mike
Newcomb; CD scans and all liner notes graciously provided by Gary
Corben of whatmusic.com]
[Written in English]
From: The Joe Carter Quartet, "Um Abraco No
Rio" (An Embrace of Rio), Empathy Records #1008
"This is a very special album in many ways. First, it is a dream come true for guitarist Joe Carter to record in Rio de Janeiro with Brazilian musicians; second, it shows the love, understanding and respect for the music itself; third, it is a labor of love.
Joe always had an ambition to record Brazilian compositions with Brazilian musicians. It's his thinking that this is the best way to play the music authentically, instead of trying a mixed bag of sorts with musicians not familiar with the songs and rhythms. It will be immediately apparent that he established a close rapport with Mauricio Einhorn, Luiz Alves and João Cortez.
Before I discuss the music, let me say that I have known all the musicians involved in this project for some time. My First contact with Joe Carter happened about twelve years ago through a series of letters. After several years we finally met in late October 1987 in New York City. I'll never forget that first meeting--it was like we had known each other for a long time. On that very cold night we talked about many things, especially music, of course. We were extremely pleased that finally we were facing each other with so many things to share and tell. I was especially happy because I put him in contact with the owner of PEOPLE, one of Rio's leading Jazz clubs. Luckily things happened as we both wished and in May of the next year Joe played two weeks in Rio with great success. At that time he met several Brazilian musicians that he had heard on records and played with them, among many others, the late great pianist Luis Eca (the composer of The Dolphin) and drummer Claudio Caribe. I am quite sure that this trip definitely sealed Joe's love for Brazil and its music. In 1989 we met again in New York and Joe did all he could for my wife and myself. His kindness, and that of his family, touched our hearts. Two years later he played again in Rio, this time at The Rio Jazz Club and he also gave a clinic/workshop at Musiarte, Rio's music school. The following year he returned to Rio to record this session and to give another workshop at Musiarte.
As I wrote before, this album is a labor of love. Carter planned it carefully and he knew exactly what he wanted when he arrived at Galeao airport in Rio. The choice of tunes, the arrangements, the tempos, everything was meticulously worked out. Einhorn, Alves and Cortez were no strangers to Joe. As a matter of fact they had played together in different combinations on his previous trips.
I have known Einhorn and Alves for a very long time, Joao for about ten years. It is obvious what I think of their musicianship. But of equal importance is the humble dedication they bring to their art. No excess, no decibel overkill, no commercialism, no fads or trends, just four cats serving the music the best way they know. The essence of the music is in the communication between them. This album clearly demonstrates this with a very high level of craftsmanship and skill.
Mauricio Einhorn has played and recorded with so many artists, among them Toots Thielemans, Sarah Vaughan, Helen Merrill, the Rio Jazz Orchestra, Sebastiao Tapajos, Baden Powell, Bobby McFerrin and Luis Eca. One of the best Brazilian musicians, he composed many songs in the bossa nova period: Estamos Ai, Batida Diferente, Alvorada, Clouds, Joyce's Samba, Sambop and the list goes on.
Luis Alves also has a very impressive background, having played with Wagner Tiso and Robertinho Silva in the seminal Som Imaginario group. He also played and recorded with Luis Eca, Milton Nascimento, Moacyr Santos, Nana Caymmi, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and many others. His impeccable time, sound and innate sense to anticipate ideas for his companions is one of his trademarks.
Drummer João Cortez is unique these days when drummers rarely play musically, preferring to make noise with no restraint. João is a sort of Kenny Clarke or Billy Higgins, a drummer that is felt more than heard, especially in this kind of context. He also plays brushes expertly, a rarity among Brazilian drummers.
This brings me to the leader's credentials: Joe Carter has recorded and played with jazz artists such as Art Farmer, Lee Konitz, Cecil Payne, Junior Cook, Harvie Swartz, Rufus Reid, Hendrik Meurkens, Don Friedman and many others. The Brazilian musicians he has worked with, in addition to this group, include Robertinho Silva, Luis Eca, Paulo Russo, Claudio Caribe, Nilson Matta, Portinho and Aloisio Aguiar.
Individually and collectively, all the men involved are masters of their instruments. They are a joy to hear. Perhaps most remarkable is the group's ability to make music that is very much of today yet firmly rooted in the tradition, always retaining the qualities of spontaneity and the essential rhythmic flow.
For variety Joe Carter recorded in different group settings, from solo guitar to trio to the full quartet. Joe, always noted for the gentle lines he plays, keeps the melodic essence of each composition, reshaping its melody and improvising with good taste. His lyrical introduction and the way he states Dindi in ballad time preparing the ground for Mauricio Einhorn is masterful. His statement on Tarde Em Itapoa is delicate and yet retains the sad quality of the song. On the classic Samba De Orfeu, a strong reading of one of the best known Brazilian songs, he flies upon the swing of Luis and João, on an interpretation that shows what samba is all about. Joe dedicated Brigas Nunca Mais to the memory of his beloved mother, a gentle woman that I had the privilege to know on one of the happiest moments of my life. He also dedicated Esperanca Perdida to the memories of Luis Eca and Claudio Caribe, making the tribute one of the most moving tracks of the session.
This is a most satisfying session. First rate musicians who lead and follow each other through a rich repertoire. Joe Carter is a perfectionist to whom music is a supreme form of art. I am sure the listener will welcome a cheerful bit of music that will provide satisfaction and the fulfillment of the desire to hear some beautiful explorations as the interpretations of this album.
After years of hoping to record Brazilian songs
with Brazilian musicians, Joe Carter did it. By all means this is a
landmark on his discography and perhaps the beginning of new
recordings in his second home: Brazil, where he has made so many
friends and has earned the respect from everyone who has had the
privilege to know him and to be his friend."
José Domingos Raffaelli
O Globo, Rio de Janeiro, April 1993
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