August 26, 2007

My Swan Song

By Randy Paul of Beautiful Horizons

As Ezra returns tomorrow, I intend to make this my swan song and thank him for letting me fill in. I'm going to close with the immortal Elis Regina.

She could belt them out with the best of them. Here she is singing Belchior's Como Nossos Pais

Probably one of her greatest contributions to popular music in Brazil was championing young songwriters. One of her earliest was the brilliant composer Ivan Lins and his song Madalena. While I couldn't find a clip of her singing this song, I did find this clip of Ivan Lins singing the song with the excellent Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and João Bosco. Speaking of João Bosco, here is Elis singing his lovely Dois Pra la, Dois Pra Ca, although I've never understand that coda sung in Spanish.

Milton Nascimento is another songwriter she championed. here they are together singing Caxanga I hope you have all enjoyed these clips. I also hope that it's spurred some interest in Brazilian music and that you'll come visit my blog. Thanks Ezra e bem-vindo em casa!

August 26, 2007 in Music | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 24, 2007

Bahia and Its Wonderful Music

Rio gets so much attention and I love the city, but if given the choice between visiting Rio or Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia, I'd choose Salvador. One of the key factors is the musical history of Salvador.

For me it all starts with Dorival Caymmi

Not only has he written so many songs, but blessed us with his son Dori, a gifted songwriter in his own right. Although Toquinho is not a Baiano, few songs conjure up images of Salvador than his lovely Tarde em Itapuã, especially when he performsit with Gilberto Gil here (unfortunately the embedding is disabled). Gal Costa also hails from Salvador as does Caetano Veloso and Daniela Mercury They lift my spirits. i hope they lift yours.

August 24, 2007 in Music | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday Frank: Peaches En Regalia; SNL, 1976

By Deborah Newell Tornello a.k.a. litbrit

I don't know about you, but after a week of getting up at 5:30 am, packing lunches and wrestling with three boys who are loathe to give up their summer sleep-ins, I am utterly wiped-out this morning. So here's a little selfishly-motivated something to get the old blood flowing--there will be plenty of time for the relaxing stuff later today.

FZ said Peaches En Regalia was one of his favorite pieces.  Mine, too. Tearing up the drums is brilliant Terry Bozzio, whose audition for Mr. Zappa was reportedly so over-the-top stunning, the remaining dummers who'd been waiting in line turned around and left. I'm uncertain as to the year (and place) this was performed From SNL's December 11th, 1976 episode--help me out thanks, Darkblack and kingmob.

Bon Weekend, everyone.

(H/T MiNo20320514)

August 24, 2007 in Music | Permalink | Comments (15)

August 23, 2007

Yamandu Costa & Paulinho da Viola

By Randy Paul of Beautiful Horizons

I have listened to Paulinho da Viola for years and have never been disappointed by this wonderful, joyous musician. He's equally adept at playing choro and samba and is a gifted composer.

Here he is performing with Marisa Monte one of his best works, the haunting Dança de Solidão

They are paired again for what may be one of the world's greatest love songs, Carinhoso, written by Pixinguinha and João Braguinha:

Paulinho is also fascinating on his own

I have just recently become acquainted with Yamandu Costa, an uncommonly talented guitarist featured in the film Brasileirinho. He plays the challenging 7-string guitar. One wonders how what is in his heart comes out so beautifully through his fingers.

Here he is in a trio setting. I'm wondering why he had the bass player. After all he plays a pretty decent bass himself with that seventh string.


August 23, 2007 in Music | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 22, 2007

Brazilian Music - The Jazzier Side

Let's start with Hermeto Pascoal. Multinstrumentalist doesn't do him justice. Put him in the kitchen and he'll play your teakettle. Put him in your daughter's room and he'll make music from her dolls. Got some pvc pipe and cinderblocks? He's got a marimba of sorts.

He grew up albino in Brazil's Northeast, which meant that when his friends headed for the sun and the beach, he had to escape to the forest and the shade. The sounds of the forest continue to haunt his playing.

Of course he does play in somewhat larger venues, too:

A more straight ahead player - and a brilliant composer and arranger - is Moacir Santos

Carlos Malta, who used to be a member of Hermeto's band, in addition to playing with artists such as Gilberto Gil, also leads a band called Pife Muderno, playing instrumental popular in the Northeast of Brazil.

This clip is even better:

Finally, there is the late, lamented Sivuca. You've probably never an accordion played quite like this: Enjoy!

August 22, 2007 in Music | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 21, 2007

Some Talents Deserving Wider Recognition

By Randy Paul of Beautiful Horizons

Lately I've focused on some of Brazil's major talents and their music, but now I'd like to showcase some musicians deserving wider recognition in the US.

First up: Monica Salmaso, an uncommonly gifted singer

It should come as no surprise that Brazil is gifted with fine guitarists. Among my favorites are Romero Lubambo,

Ulisses Rocha,

and Toninho Horta.


August 21, 2007 in Music | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 20, 2007


By Randy Paul of Beautiful Horizons

There is probably no more complete musician in Brazil than Joyce, a gifted composer, guitarist with one of the loveliest voices in popular music. She is also arguably the best Brazilian singer to sing in English, having studied the language for two years to gain proficiency to sing well.

Listening to her always lifts my mood, so I thought she'd be good for a Monday morning.

Here she is singing Feminina, one of her signature songs

She also displays some fine jazz chops here

Here she is with Roberto Menescal doing the Bossa Nova classic, Samba de Verão

Have a great week, everyone!

August 20, 2007 in Music | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 19, 2007

Sunday Morning Get Moving Brazilian Music Edition

By Randy Paul of Beautiful Horizons

Jacqueline had made the suggestion in the comments to my previous post, so here goes.

First off is Djavan. I love this clip of his song Samurai and I believe you will, too. The little boy  he jokes with at the beginning is his grandson!

Next we have Gilberto Gil and Jorge Ben performing Filho Maravilha.

Finally, as I know Ezra likes Jorge Ben, you can see the song that Rod Stewart ripped off for D'Ya Think I'm Sexy, Taj Mahal

August 19, 2007 in Music | Permalink | Comments (5)

Lee Hazlewood, July 9, 1929 – August 4, 2007

By Kathy G.

This summer, we’ve seen the deaths of quite a few important cultural figures, from major film artists like Bergman, Antonioni, and Ousmane Sembene to the jazz great Max Roach.

One person whose passing didn’t get nearly the attention he deserved was singer/songwriter/producer Lee Hazlewood (perhaps because, due to the similarity in their names, people have perennially confused him with this jackass). In the grand scheme of things, Hazlewood wasn’t as important as the other folks I mentioned. But his musical vision was unique and compelling, and his best work still has the power to surprise and delight.

How to describe the music of Lee Hazlewood? I came up with this rough formulation:

Lee Hazlewood = Johnny Cash + LSD + Phil Spector – The Crazy

To explain: Johnny Cash references the fact that Hazlewood’s roots were in country music, and he never traveled too far afield from there. LSD because, by the late 60s, a psychedelic turn was quite pronounced. Phil Spector for the poppy girl-group influence and his lush, complex orchestrations. But minus The Crazy, because although Hazlewood was certainly an eccentric, unlike Spector he wasn’t known for, um, imprisoning his wives or pulling guns on people.

I’m going to post some YouTube videos of some of his most interesting work. Hazlewood was best known for his work with Nancy Sinatra, so I’ll start with their biggie. This is from Sinatra’s wonderful 1967 television special, Movin’ with Nancy, of which more later. But for now, just check this out. It’s totally outrageous.

Seriously, this one must have launched a million fetish fantasies.

Hazlewood was mostly known for being the man-behind-the-scenes Svengali for Duane Eddy in the 50s and Nancy Sinatra in the 60s. But although he didn’t look or sound like anyone’s idea of a pop star – he had a big droopy moustache and a somewhat goofy baritone voice – by the late 60s he started to come out front and center and do some of his own singing. He recorded a number of duets with Sinatra, of which “Some Velvet Morning” is the most memorable – an exceedingly strange yet haunting and eerily beautiful song with some absolutely gorgeous, magisterial orchestration. Check out it below (the clip here is also from the television special):

Here’s another Lee and Nancy duet, “Summer Wine”:

And another one below, “Jackson.” Unfortunately it’s audio-only, but it’s such a great song and I love what they do with it. I think it’s even better than the Johnny Cash/June Carter version, and that’s saying a lot, because I worship Johnny Cash. Lee and Nancy did a number of excellent covers of country hits – I'm especially fond of their version of Dolly Parton’s great “Down from Dover.”

Now, about that Nancy Sinatra television special, Movin’ with Nancy. Unfortunately Netflix doesn’t seem to have it but it is available from Amazon, and I highly recommend it. If ever a television show screamed “pure 60s,” this is the one. Watching it is like being inside a frenzied, pop-psychedelic dayglo dream. Not only does it have the high-concept, music video-like segments with Nancy and Lee, but there are several delirious production numbers in which Nancy is accompanied by small army of mini-skirted dancers in go-go boots. Plus, there’s a duet between Nancy and her dad that goes beyond Freudian. I think Nancy also duets with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. – though maybe I just dreamed that.

One of the bonuses of Movin’ with Nancy is that it includes the original commercials, which are fascinating. Here’s one of the groovy ads from the sponsor, RC Cola – “It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad cola!”:

August 19, 2007 in Music | Permalink | Comments (14)

Frank Zappa: On Freedom and the First Amendment; on Crossfire and in Prague, Czechoslovakia

By Deborah Newell Tornello a.k.a. litbrit

As promised  in the thread about Frank Zappa and the issue of PMRC labels yesterday, here is the video of Frank Zappa's prescient and pro-First Amendment brilliance as seen on Crossfire in 1986. Also in this post, I've uploaded a film short of FZ's Czechoslovakian adventures. And later today, I'll type out a portion of the transcript from the 1975 British lawsuit in which Frank Zappa sued the Crown and post that, too. You readers deserve the best, right?!

Okay, then, let's get started. What you're about to see is a video clip--in three parts--of Maestro Zappa appearing on the CNN program Crossfire. Also appearing are On the left! Tom Braden, On the right! Robert Novak, and along with Mr. Zappa--In the crossfire!--is Washington Times columnist John Lofton.

Also offered in three parts, here is a film short of Frank Zappa during his historic visit to Prague, where he met and socialized with mutual fan and friend Vaclav Havel. In comments at the FZ thread yesterday, Captain Goto wrote:

Vaclav Havel was an enormous fan, who invited Zappa to visit Czechoslovakia as a sort of cultural ambassador. Zappa was quoted as saying to Havel how sorry he was that Havel would have to meet with Reagan, mincing no words about his opinion of Ronnie's intelligence.

In Zappa's retelling, in less time than it takes to blink, US officials roared into Prague to inform the Czechs, in no uncertain terms, that Frank would be have *no* part of *any* kind of meeting with Havel for *any* reason, under *any* circumstances...

Some of the soundtrack is in English while other parts are in Czech, which I don't speak; even so, I thoroughly enjoyed--and therefore highly recommend--this rare and unusual film.

August 19, 2007 in Government, Music | Permalink | Comments (8)