Monday, April 23, 2018

Choro Day

Pixinguinha (April 23, 1897 - February 17, 1973)
Today it's Choro Day. Since the year 2000 the 23th of April has been the official Choro Day in Brazil - the specific date chosen to commemorate and honor the birthday of Pixinguinha (Alfredo da Rocha Viana Filho). - Here we will celebrate the day and Pixinguinha while listening to some of his music. - Let's start with a great interpretation of the choro Teu Aniversário as played by Hercules Gomes in a solo piano rendition

One of Pixinguinha's famous choros recorded in collaboration with flutist Benedito Lacerda in the 1940s is Ingênuo - Pixinguinha contributes the 'second voice' on tenor sax while Lacerda has the lead voice

Lamentos is another famous choro by Pixinguinha, here interpretated by Jacob do Bandolim - Pixinguinha's great friend and follower

A celebration of Pixinguinha and Choro would be incomplete without Um a zero - here interpretated by the master and Lacerda in the same setting as above

Pixinguinha's influence on Choro and other musicians is kept well alive in Brazil, here's an example to end this - the choro ensemble named Rabo de Gato featuring Proveta on clarinet celebrates Pixinguinha in a live performance of Toquinho & Vinicius de Moraes' Chorando para Pixinguinha


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Jacob do Bandolim Centennial

Jacob do Bandolim (14-02 1918 - 13-08 1969)
Today is the date of the Jacob do Bandolim Centennial, the event will be celebrated by musicians, fans and media both in Brazil and other countries to honor one of the true icons of Brazilian music. Here at the choromusic blogspot I'll contribute to this event with some examples from Jacob's recorded legacy which are available from You Tube. I encourage readers to commemorate the importance of Jacob do Bandolim's musical heritage and find more examples at You Tube or from other available sources.
Jacob and his bandolim
Jacob do Bandolim had his recording debut in 1947 at Continental that issued eight sides on four 78 rpm discs recorded 1947 - 1949. The first recorded session was made in October 1947 and featured Jacob's choro titled Treme-Treme as the A-side of the issued disc. The audio has been uploaded at You Tube and is inserted below

In November 1948 Jacob recorded his choro Remelexo and the waltz Feia for Continental, the first mentioned is inserted below from You Tube

In 1949, Jacob changed to RCA Victor and in July 1950 he recorded his choro Simplicidade for this label, inserted below from You Tube

One of the tunes which forever will be associated with Jacob do Bandolim and his imprint on Brazilian music and culture is of course Noites Cariocas recorded for RCA Victor and first issued on a 78 rpm May 1957

LP front: Vibrações, RCA Camden (Oct. 1967)
Jacob continued to record for RCA Victor throughout his career and his greatest success was the issue of the album Vibrações released in October 1967 featuring Jacob and his conjunto Época de Ouro. From this great album I'll insert the audio of two titles uploaded at You Tube, first Receita de Samba

Finally, to end this small contribution, the title track of the album - the immortal choro, Vibrações


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018

I wish readers of the choromusic blogspot a Happy New Year 2018 and thank you for your interest and support in 2017. The blog and related under the keepitswinging.domain will be discontinued in 2018 due to personal matters.  However, a fixed date according this step has not yet been scheduled, I'll announce more precisely later. Till then, keep coming back to keep updated.Thank you for your understanding.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Joel Nascimento - A Profile

Joel Nascimento
Earlier this month the well known and highly esteemed bandolinista Joel Nascimento (b Oct. 13, 1937) turned 80 years of age. It´s a good reason to summarize some highlights of this artist's career here at the choro-music blog.
Joel Nascimento began playing the cavaquinho as a child, taking up the piano and the accordion at age 14. He formed the group Joel e Seu Ritmo playing for dancers, and in 1955 he undertook formal piano studies at the Conservatório Brasileiro, but was forced to abandon music in 1959 due to hearing problems. He became a radiologist, returning to music only ten years later after being noticed by the host of a traditional roda de choro, who donated Joel a bandolim as a present. From then on he switched to that instrument. In 1974, Joel performed Radamés Gnattali's Retratos suite and was applauded by the composer. Also in 1974 he was involving in samba and i.e. participated in the recording of a tribute album to Donga and became the accompanist of sambistas João Nogueira and Beth Carvalho. In 1975, Joel Nascimento's debut LP, Chorando Pelos Dedos, was launched and became a success with high sales rating for an instrumental release. In 1977, he participated in the show Choro Na Praça together with a.o. Waldir Azevedo and Paulo Moura, the concert was recorded and released on a double LP. In 1978, Joel Nascimento asked Radamés Gnattali to transcribe his Retratros suite for a traditional choro ensemble setting, which resulted in the formation of Camerata Carioca and the recording of Retratos by this group featuring Radamés at the Tributo a Jacob do Bandolim album in 1979. 
Tributo a Jacob do Bandolim (LP, 1979)
The tribute album and especially Retratos opened the doors to a new choro school that incorporated erudite compositions in the repertoire of the traditional choro ensemble. From the Tributo a Jacob do Bandolim album the recording of Retratos has been uploaded at You Tube and is inserted below to mark an important renewal of the choro genre and a guideline to a contemporary conception of choro

Joel Nascimento, Camerata Carioca and Radamés Gnattali also had a co-work on a project devoted to music by Vivaldi and Pixinguinha (LP, 1980). Since the revival of choro dawned during the 1970s it is no longer unusual to find music by erudite, classical composers mixed with traditional choro works in the repertoire of contemporary choro ensembles thanks to the pioneering projects and recordings by Joel Nascimento and his musicians. Here I also like to point to the excellent CD featuring Joel Nascimento and Hamilton de Holanda titled De Bandolim a Bandolim from 2009 as another successfull example of the inclusion of erudite compositions in the repertoire of choro bandolim performance (- a review was made earlier here). 
Joel Nascimento has composed several pieces for choro ensemble and some years ago the choro group Água de Moringa recorded twelve of his works at a CD titled Obrigado Joel 
CD by Água de Moringa, Obrigado Joel (iss. 2010)
The CD may be hard to find outside Brazil, but you have the opportunity to listen to all twelve tracks in streaming audio at Soundcloud, here - An overview of some of the recordings Joel Nascimento has participated in is available at Discos do Brasil, here - To end this small profile, I'll insert two more videos. The first features Joel Nascimento in a live performance with Conjunto Epoca de Ouro performing Bonfiglio de Oliveira's famous choro Flamengo 

Finally, from a live duo performance with Rogério Caetano, here is the duo's interpretation of Pixinguinha's Lamentos 


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Rogério Caetano - Live Recordings With Guests (2017)

Rogério Caetano Convida au Vivo no Rio (Biscoito Fino)
Rogério Caetano is well known for his contribution to the development of the violão 7 cordas in contemporary Brazilian popular music, notable in choro and related genres. He is considered an innovator of the playing style founded by Dino 7 cordas and refined by Raphael Rabello representing the steel string tradition of the violão 7 cordas. Together with Marco Pereira Rogério Caetano worked out a new method for the violão 7 cordas, and he has been awarded with several prizes in Brazil for his work as a musician, arranger, producer and composer. Rogério Caetano has played and recorded together with acclaimed Brazilian artists and released seven CDs under his own name, the latest was issued by Biscoito Fino in August this year (- more info here) 
Rogério Caetano (promo photo from
The new CD by Rogério Caetano is part of a series of shows recorded live in Rio de Janeiro where Rogério Caetano has had the opportunity to invite guests for an exclusive performance. Invited guests presented at the CD include Yamandú Costa, Hamilton de Holanda, Silvério Pontes and Ze da Velha, Bebê Kramer, Marco Pereira, Eduardo Neves and Cristóvão Bastos. The CD has fourteen tracks, the mentioned guests are presented in two recordings each. The performances are carried out in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with suitable space for improvisation, and the repertoire is represented by great arrangements of choro and related music. The CD is definitely enjoyable and worth adding to your collection of contemporary, exquisite instrumental Brazilian music. The CD is available for purchase here - Below I'll insert a couple of video recordings of some of the performances that have been uploaded at You Tube, here is first Rogério Caetano in interplay with Hamilton de Holanda in a tune titled Capricho de Luperce composed by Hamilton

Next, Rogério Caetano's Choro Bagual is performed in interplay with Yamandú Costa

Finally, reed player Eduardo Neves is presented with Rogério in his own Vai que é gostoso 


Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Demise of Jacob do Bandolim

Jacob do Bandolim (1918-1969)
In March 1967 Jacob do Bandolim suffered the first of three heart strokes, this happened during a live performance. Two years later, primo August 1969, Jacob was in Brasilia to recieve treatment by a cardiologist, Dr. Veloso, after suffering yet another stroke. After returning to Rio Jacob decided to pay his old friend, Pixinguinha, a visit on August 13 to discuss plans of recording an album solely devoted to music by Pixinguinha. Upon returning from his visit, he got a third heart attack and this time with a fatal outcome - he died in the arms of his wife, who found him lying on the porch in front of their home in Jacarepaguá, Rio de Janeiro.
Jacob and Epoca de Ouro (1960s)
Jacob was only 51 years of age, when he passed away on August 13, 1969, but at the time of his untimely death he had already achieved well-deserved fame and respect thanks to his unremitting efforts for disseminating knowledge and love for genuine Brazilian music, first and foremost choro and related genres. Jacob's work as a musician, researcher and producer of radio programs had helped to establish a successfull career, which was at its peak at the time of his death. An important decision in his career led to the formation of his most successful ensemble, the Conjunto Epoca de Ouro formed by Dino 7 Cordes, César Faria and Carlos Leite (guitars), Jonas Silva (cavaquinho) and Gilberto D'Avila (pandeiro). This ensemble accompanied Jacob in his weekly jam sessions (saraus) at his home during the 1960s and participated in the recording of his most successfull LP, Vibrações, released in October 1967. 
LP front, Vibrações, RCA Camden 1967
This year the LP Vibrações by Jacob e seu Conjunto Epoca de Oro celebrates its 50th year jubilee. On this date today we should honor Jacob do Bandolim and his efforts of keeping choro alive in a difficult period of popular music in Brazil by listening to the twelve tracks of this masterpiece. Luckily, the audio of all twelve tracks has been uploaded at You Tube and is accessible by following this link -  Here I'll just point to some anecdoctal info on the title track of the LP, the famous choro composed by Jacob. Déo Rian has told that Jacob composed the choro Vibrações in March 1964 while visiting a car wash shop owned by one of his choro friends. Waiting for the car wash to be finished, Jacob asked his friend for pen and paper and then wrote down the music of Vibrações by heart without having access to his instrument and gave it to his friend and owner of the car wash office, whom he asked to put a name on the music. The next day  his friend came to his house and exclaimed that he had created a masterpiece, which was to be named Vibrações (in English: vibrations) - the tune radiated the spirit of choro and generated good vibrations. Let's end this entry by listening to a live performance of Vibrações, probably recorded at a roda de choro in Brasilia in 1967 when Jacob and his Conjunto Epoca de Choro participated 


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Toca de Tatu - Afinidade

Grupo Toca de Tatu (photo by Alexandre Rezende)

A couple of years ago I was introduced to Toca de Tatu, a quartet of very talented young musicians from Belo Horizonte who plays instrumental Brazilian music incorporating choro as well as other influences in the ensemble's performances. Toca de Tatu consists of (- left to right on photo above) Lucas Ladeia (cavaquinho), Abel Borges (percussion), Luísa Mitre (piano) and Lucas Telles (violão 7 cordas). The debut CD of Toca de Tatu was released in 2013 containing the ensemble's arrangements and interpretation of instrumental music from the popular works of Radamés Gnattali and was titled Meu Amigo Radamés. I wrote a small review here  - You have the opportunity to listen to the thirteen tracks of the CD in full length at You Tube, hereLearn more about Toca de Tatu from the official website (- both in Portuguese and English), here

CD front: Toca de Tatu, Afinidade (2017)

Recently the second CD by Toca de Tatu entitled Afinidade was released in Brazil and contains tvelwe tracks of new compositions, some by members of the ensemble and some by others. The title of the CD means 'affinity' in English and points to the musical influences which inspire the group. The first track of the new album i.e. is titled Mozareth composed by Lucas Telles and points to both Mozart and Ernesto Nazareth as inspiration, a mixture of sources which reminds me of Radamés Gnattali's successfull attempt to bridge the gap between erudite and popular musical styles. Another track at the CD also points to Mozart as inspiration, Sarau pro Sr. Mozart, a composition by Thiago Delegado arranged by Tacu de Tatu. The title track of the CD, Afinidade, is composed by the cavaqhinista of Toca de Tatu Lucas Ladeia and incorporates a choro structure with modern harmony, the result is a marvellous listening experience which also applies to the remaining repertoire and tracks of the disc. This is music that needs your listening attention, but when performed by this very skilled group, repeated listening indeed pays off. Some tracks have extended personnel, all involved contribute to a succesfull result. You have the opportunity to listen to the CD in full lenght at You Tube, here 

Toca de Tatu at ease
Thanks to Oscar Barahona for supplying info on the above mentioned CD.