The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for May 2nd, 2014

From Brazil to Ireland, Él Releases Grab-Bag of Jazz, Vocals, Soundtracks and Bossa Nova

leave a comment »

Cal Tjader - Latin BagFans of vintage jazz can thank Cherry Red’sél label for a number of recent reissues from such artists as Cal Tjader, Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks, Herbie Mann and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

In a Latin Bag and Saturday Night/Sunday Night at the Blackhawk combines two albums on one CD from Latin jazz pioneer Cal Tjader. The vibraphonist/percussionist recorded these long out-of-print albums in 1961 and 1962, respectively, at Verve under the aegis of future CTI chief Creed Taylor. By the time he joined Verve, Tjader was already a seasoned leader, having recorded nearly 30 albums for the Savoy and Fantasy labels. Though born in St. Louis and raised in California, Tjader became enamored with Latin and Afro-Cuban styles, exploring them on LPs like Tjader Plays Mambo, Mambo with Tjader, Plays Afro-Cuban, and Latin for Lovers with Strings. He would stick with these sounds for his entire life.

For In a Latin Bag, Tjader was joined by flautist Paul Horn, bassist Al McKibbon, pianist Lonnie Hewett, and the percussion section of Armando Peraza (bongos), Wilfredo Vicente (congas) and Johnny Rae (timbales). The album blended originals from Tjader and Horn with standards including “Misty” and “Speak Low,” and movie material like Bronislau Kaper’s “On Green Dolphin Street” and Miklos Rosza’s “Theme from Ben-Hur.” Saturday/Sunday at the Blackhawk returned Tjader to the San Francisco venue where he had recorded live albums in 1957 and 1959. Leading a quartet consisting of Rae, Hewitt and bassist Freddy Schreiber, Tjader excelled at reinvention as he improvised on classic melodies by Richard Rodgers (“This Can’t Be Love”), Benny Goodman (“Stompin’ at the Savoy”) and George Gershwin (“Summertime”) and more contemporary ones by Gary McFarland and Benny Golson. Schreiber, Hewitt and Tjader all contributed compositions, too. It would take Tjader a couple more years to break through on Verve, which he accomplished with 1964’s Soul Sauce, said to be the album that popularized the term “salsa” for the kind of Latin dance music in which Tjader excelled. The two-for-one reissue includes the original liner notes for both albums.

Brazilian SceneThe music of Brazil has been featured on numerous él CDs in recent months, from artists including Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, Joao Donato, Vinicius de Moraes, and Luis Bonfá. The latest of the label’s explorations of bossa nova and beyond is The Brazilian Scene, a 24-track compendium.   This collection draws on music recorded between 1955 and 1962 from a number of diverse Brazilian artists. The legendary Jobim (sometimes referred to as “the Gershwin of Brazil”) is heard teaming with Herbie Mann on his own “One Note Samba,” while his “Garota de Ipanema” (“The Girl from Ipanema”), “Samba do Aviao” and “So Danco Samba” are heard in renditions by organist Ze Maria and bossa nova/tropicalist composer Jorge Ben. Maria’s 1962 album Todo Azul is included in full here, noteworthy as Ben’s professional recording debut. Ben’s signature song “Mas Que Nada” (later a smash hit by Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66) is among its tracks. The Brazilian Scene also includes music from Herbie Mann and Baden Powell, Luis Bonfá, Radames Gnattali with Laurindo Almeida, Gilberto Gil, and even composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959). Villa-Lobos’ classical/art music predated bossa nova and tropicalia but shares with those movements a spellbinding, exotic quality. It all adds up to some of the most beguiling “world music” ever made.

After the jump: a look at Lambert and Hendricks (no Ross, sorry) and a melange of music from the classic film The Quiet Man, as sung by Bing Crosby and one somewhat more unexpected crooner! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 2, 2014 at 10:15