Monday, July 31, 2006

Carolina & Garoto - Discography

A couple of days ago I posted a message with a request on info concerning the recordings made by Carolina Cardoso de Menezes and Garoto. Here is a list of the recordings I found browsing the Funarte database:
- MARIA ELENA (VICTOR 80.0003-A,S-052587) 31.07.1942
- AMOROSO (VICTOR 80.0003-B,S-052586) 31.07.1942
- AMOR-CIELITO LINDO (RITMO DE FOX) (VICTOR 80.0044-A,S-052648) 09.11.1942
- JALOUSIE (RITMO DE FOX) (VICTOR 80.0044-B,S-052649) 09.11.1942
- TICO-TICO NO FUBA (VICTOR 80.0061-A,S-052694) 12.01.1943
- CARINHOSO (VICTOR 80.0061-B,S-052695) 12.01.1943
- UM PEU D'AMOUR (RITMO DE FOX) (VICTOR 80.0068-A,S-052710) 01.02.1943
- AMOREUSE (RITMO DE FOX) (VICTOR 80.0068-B,S-052711) 01.02.1943
- RATO, RATO (VICTOR 80.0207-A,S-078010) 30.06.1944
- FALA BANDOLIM (VICTOR 80.0207-B,S-078011) 30.06.1944
- DOR DE UM CORACAO (VICTOR 80.0222-A,S-078042) 21.08.1944
- OS PATINADORES (RITMO DE SAMBA) (VICTOR 80.0222-B,S-078043) 21.08.1944
If some of you have further info on the recordings made by Carolina e Garoto, I should be happy to hear from you and post your message in a new posting later.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Lady With The Tutti Frutti Hat - Carmen Miranda

A career profile from the All Brazilian Music website reeds:

Carmen Miranda (1909 - 1955) still stands as the most successful female Brazilian singer outside of the country. Born in Portugal, she was brought to Brazil as a baby, settling in Rio with her family. At age 15, she was working at a hat shop. In 1928, Carmem met with composer and guitarist Josué de Barros, who invited her for a benefit presentation and later introduced her into the radio world. The first recording happened in 1929, through Brunswick, featuring the samba "Não Vá Simbora" on one side and the choro "Se o Samba É Moda" on the other, both written by Josué. Her first great hit, "Pra Você Gostar de Mim (Taí)", was a sales phenomenon with 36.000 copies sold. She proceeded to make a number of recordings, worked in the movies and, as a duo with her sister Aurora, made history at the legendary Cassino da Urca, where, in 1928, Carmem first wore the costume that would become her trademark around the world.
At Cassino da Urca, she met a north-American producer who convinced her to travel to the United States. Accompanied by the Bando da Lua, Brazil’s greatest star left countless fans crying at her departure, arriving in America in 1939 – a complete unknown who couldn’t say a word in English. Soon she was performing songs like "Mamãe Eu Quero", "Tico-tico no Fubá", "O Que É Que a Baiana Tem?" and "South American Way" to big audiences, becoming a phenomenon also in the States as the second best paid artist in Hollywood. She was in 10 Hollywood movies, being dubbed The Brazilian Bombshell.
In 1940 she returned briefly to Brazil, being acclaimed by most of her fans, but also ditched by the crowds at Cassino da Urca. Devastated, Carmen requested that a song be made about the situation, and recorded "Disseram que Voltei Americanizada" ("They Say I’ve Been Americanized"). After that, she went back to the States and settled in Beverly Hills, maintaining her career as a singer and film and TV actress. In 1954, the pressures of the entertainment and music industries gave her a nervous breakdown, and Miranda returned to Brazil for treatment and some rest. Back in Beverly Hills in 1955, she suffered a heart attack and died, in August, after almost fainting during a TV performance.

Enjoy Carmen Miranda as the lady with the tutti frutti hat singing "Tico-tico no fúba", click here

Further info on Carmen Miranda including soundclips at AMG

A website dedicated to Carmen Miranda available here


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Carolina & Garoto

Carolina Cardoso de Menezes (1916-2000) was a popular Brazilian pianist, composer and arranger also excelling in choro.

Alvaro Neder writes in AMG:

"An artist who, with her unique rhythm feel that is not shared with any pianist of her generation, helped to blur the line that divides the popular from the erudite. Carolina Cardoso de Menezes had a formal pianistic education, but dedicated herself to work in the popular field. Her solo piano albums draw from previous sources of the same approach, like the composer Ernesto Nazareth, who had his works recorded by her in her Música de Ernesto Nazareth and other albums. She worked with Garoto and the Trio Surdina and was one of the first musicians to adapt the jazz idiom to Brazilian music; she was also one of the precursors of the bossa nova movement. She was one of the pioneers of Brazilian rock, having released her Brasil Rock in 1957. She had success with her instrumental compositions (her biggest hit in this genre being 1942's "Eu Sou Do Barulho") and her songs with lyrics (mostly by Armando Fernandes) were recorded by singers like Francisco Alves, Ângela Maria, Orlando Silva, Sílvio Caldas, Isaurinha Garcia, Cauby Peixoto, and Wanderley Cardoso. She accompanied many national big-time artists in radio and theater performances and also accompanied the international stars Josephine Baker, Pedro Vargas, and Charles Trenet in their Brazilian tours."

Further info on Carolina Cardoso de Menezes in AMG

Searching for info on Garoto at the web, I found this small message in a career profile:

"Em 1942, gravou três 78 r.p.m., com a pianista Carolina Cardoso de Menezes, com o título de Garoto & Carolina e cinco anos depois formou dupla com José Menezes, participando do programa "Nada Alem de 2 Minutos". Nesse programa, Garoto provou sua genialidade tocando instrumentos sem perder as seqüências das músicas, alternando violão, guitarra, violão-tenor e cavaquinho"

Trying to investigate the recordings by Carolina & Garoto, I had a look im the Funarte database. I found out that Carolina & Garoto actually made several recordings together from 1942 till 1944, perhaps earlier and later recordings also exsist, but I haven't been able to trace them .

If some of the visitors of this blog are able to help with further info regarding the recordings of Carolina & Garoto, I should be happy to add this info in a new posting later.


Jaco do Bandolim

While searching the web for video recordings of Jacob do Bandolim, I found out from his official website that just a sequence of appromimately 30 sec seems to exist, strange considering the popularity of this great artist.
Click picture to download the zip.file of the short tv spot showing an interviewer talking with Jacob, sound track has music by Jacob. Go to the index 'veja Jacob' to reach the download file.
More sound by Jacob do Bandolim available at his web
A live performance of Jacob do Bandolim's signature tune, "Noites Cariocas", by the choro ensemble Grupo Passagem available here

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pixinguinha and Benedito Lacerda Regional - Carinhoso

Alvaro Neder writes in AMG:
"In 1940, Pixinguinha joins Benedito Lacerda's regional and begins one of the most fertile periods of Brazilian music, with a perfection of execution not known until then. At this point comes the time when Pixinguinha revolutionizes the Brazilian musical writing, with his sax doing superb improvised counterpoints to the Lacerda's flute melody. New creative and innovative works are born in this phase, like "Ingênuo," "Um a Zero," "Segura Ele," "Sofres Porque Queres," "Proezas do Sólon," "Oito Batutas," "O Gato e o Canário," "Ainda me Recordo," among others."
Enjoy Pixinguinha with Lacerda's Regional in a performance of "Carinhoso" here
Soundclips of Pixinguiha available at AMG

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Luperce Miranda - King of The Mandolin

Luperce Bezerra Pessoa de Miranda (28/7 1904 - 5/4 1977) is considered one of the best Brasilian mandolin players. Alvaro Neder writes in the AMG:
"Luperce Miranda, and later, Jacob do Bandolim, were responsible for the presence of the mandolin in the Brazilian popular music scene. Before them, the mandolin was used sporadically and always as accompaniment. The crescent soloist activity of these renowned musicians imposed the instrument in a broader circle. Miranda played and recorded with the who's who of Brazilian popular music. Among his recordings, both as a soloist and accompanist, he left around 900 registers. He wrote around 500 compositions in several genres, such as choro, valse, and frevo. A superb musician of irreproachable technique, he forged his style in the Neapolitan school, leaving to do Bandolim the honor of the development of a Brazilian school of the instrument."
A small career profile in the Dicionário Cravo Albin
"He had his first contact with the instrument at eight years of age. His first composition was a 1919 frevo track. He was considered to be a virtuoso on the mandolin. In 1926, he joined the group Turunas da Mauricéia. They sang emboladas and cocos, rhythms that before this were unknown in Brazilian cities, and wore simple country style clothes and hats with the wide brims turned up at the front. The embolada Pinião, co-authored with Augusto Calheiros that was part of the repertoire of the Turunas, constituted one of the great successes of the Recife carnival in 1928. He moved to Rio de Janeiro at the end of the 1920s. He appeared, in 1931, with Carmen Miranda, Mário Reis, Francisco Alves and Tute, among others on Rádio El Mundo in Buenos Aires. From 1936, he worked at Rádio Mayrink Veiga. He accompanied the great artists of the time, such as Carmen Miranda. In 1945, he transferred to Rádio Nacional. He left more than 500 compositions and participated in approximately 700 recordings. In respect of his talent, the maestro Francisco Braga said : “Young man, I consider you to be the king of the mandolin”, and Villa–Lobos also once declared: “Boy, you are a genius!”."
A few sound clips available here and here
More discographical info in the Funarte database
More sound available using the online search facilities at Instituto Moreira Salles

Strange Habits!

While on our holidays in The Netherlands, my friend Hans demonstrated one of his region's habits, eating a raw herring with onions at a streetcorner just like that (see picture). I don´t know, if this kind of delicatesse is a daily habit with the locals, but I sucpect Hans was clearing his voice in advance to get ready for some yodel practice. As you probably already have learned, Hans and his wife Corrie went to a part of Germany for a holidy on the walk a week after the photo above was shot. I bet it's a pretty must to master the art of yodeling walking the lonesome hills and dales of a German province, perhaps without being forced to use 'lederhosen' (short leather pants) and nailed boots - another strange habit.
I have also been exhibiting some strange habits at this blog during the last week, having spotted some of my musical interests, which only from a Spinoza's 'sub species aeterne'-point-of-view may be considered related with choro or choro-related music. I apologize for my strange habits to the visitors of this blog mainly interested in info on the Brazilian choro tradition. My next move shall therefore be to return to postings that keep to the subject of the choro blog spot. There is a hope for a new posting concerning this tomorrow.
Anyway, thanks for your visit and patience, if you have enjoyed reading the previous postings just half as much as I have enjoyed keeping Hans' daily keepswinging-blogspot running during the past week at this spot.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Eddie Lang - Jazz Guitar Virtuoso

No jazz guitar playing in the way we know it today would have been the same, if not the virtuosity of Eddie Lang had guided the road to follow by later guitarists. The influence of Lang's pioneering fretwork has from time to time been neglected in favour of much later players of his instrument. To correct this mistake I'll remind the reader just a few details regarding his career, here quoted from the Wikipedia encyclopia:
Eddie Lang (October 25, 1902 – March 26, 1933) was a jazz guitarist, considered by many the finest of his era. Lang was born Salvatore Massaro, the son of an Italian-American instrument maker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At first, he took violin lessons for 11 years. In school he became friends with Joe Venuti, with whom he would work for much of his career. He was playing professionally by about 1918, playing violin, banjo, and guitar. He worked with various bands in the USA's north-east, worked in London (late 1924 to early 1925), then settled in New York City. He played with the bands of Venuti, Adrian Rollini, Roger Wolfe Kahn and Jean Goldkette in addition to doing a large amount of freelance radio and recording work.In 1929 he joined Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, and can be seen and heard in the movie "The King of Jazz".When Bing Crosby left Whiteman, Lang went with Bing as his accompanist and can be seen with him in the 1932 movie "The Big Broadcast". Lang also played under the pseudonym Blind Willie Dunn on a number of blues records with Lonnie Johnson. Eddie Lang died from a sudden hemorrhage following a tonsillectomy in New York City.
Further info on Eddie Lang including sound available here
More info available here

Monday, July 24, 2006

Blind Blake - Ragtime Guitar

Probably one of the best guitarists ever was Blind Blake. Little is known about his biography, but his recordings on Paramount are still considered highlights of the certain branch of guitar playing called ragtime guitar. A small profile at Wikipedia below:
"Blind" Blake (born Arthur Blake, circa 1893, Jacksonville, Florida; died: circa 1933) was an influential blues singer and guitarist. He is often called "The King Of Ragtime Guitar". There is only one photograph of him in existence. Blind Blake recorded about 80 tracks for Paramount Records in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He was one of the most accomplished guitarists of his genre with a surprisingly diverse range of material. His complex and intricate fingerpicking has inspired Reverend Gary Davis, Jorma Kaukonen, Ry Cooder, Ralph Mctell and many others. He is most known for his distinct guitar sound that was comparable in sound and style to a ragtime piano. Very little is known about his life. His birthplace was listed as Jacksonville, Florida by Paramount Records but even that is in dispute. Nothing is known of his death. Even his name is not certain. During recordings he was asked about his real name and he answered that his name was Blind Arthur Blake which is also listed on some of the song credits, strengthening his case on his real name, although there is a suggestion that his real name was Arthur Phelps. His first recordings were made in 1926 and his records sold well. His first solo record was "Early Morning Blues" with "West Coast Blues" on the B-side. Both are considered excellent examples of his style. Blake made his last recordings in 1932, the end of his career aided by Paramount's bankruptcy. It is often said that the later recordings have much less sparkle and, allegedly, Blind Blake was drinking heavily in his later years. It is likely that this lead to his early death.
Soundclips of Blind Blake available here

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Jump In The Line!

The 23th of July 1958 is a special date for all, who have heard and appreciate the music, song and guitarplaying of the incredible phenomenon named Joseph Spence. This date Joseph Spence was recorded live by Sam Charters for the Folkways archieve and label at the backporch of his home in Nassau, The Bahamas. The effect of these recordings on countless musicians and a still growing band of fans is beyound the possibility of describing. A small profile from the Wikipedia encyclopedia may help casting some more light on the subject.
"Joseph Spence (born August, 1910 in Andros, Bahamas - died March 18, 1984 in Nassau, Bahamas) was a Bahamanian guitarist, singer and blues musician. He is well known for his vocalizations and humming while performing on guitar. Several modern folk, blues and jazz musicians, including Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder, Woody Mann and John Renbourn were influenced by and have recorded variations of his arrangements of gospel and Bahamanian pop tunes. The earliest recordings of Joseph Spence were field recordings by folk musicologists such as Sam Charters. Nearly all of the recorded songs are in a Drop D tuning, where the sixth string is tuned to a low D rather than E, so that the guitar sounds, from sixth to first D A D G B E. The power of his playing derives from moving bass lines and interior voices and a driving beat that he emphasizes with foot tapping. To this mix he adds blues coloration and calypso rhythms to achieve a unique and easily identifiable sound. He has been called the folk guitarist's Thelonious Monk."
More info on Joseph Spence available here and here
Soundclips from the July 1958 recordings available here

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar - Gentle Sounds

If the angels of heaven didn't play harps, they probably would prefer to play slack key guitar, I am convinced.
Slack key guitar, ki ho`alu, is a uniquely Hawaiian folk tradition born in the 1800s. Slack key guitar is often confused with and actually pre-dates the more well known Hawaiian lap steel developed in the late 1880s or 1890s. Slack key means that you loosen the strings of the guitar and tune them into a chord, which adds the possibility of using open strings more frequently than with the guitar standard tuning (E A D G B E - from low to high). Moreover the slack key guitar has a more full and gentle sound than a coventionally tuned guitar when played with your fingers, as the open strings resonate the picked notes. A common way of slack key tuning is the F Wahine tuning (C F C G C E) or the C Wahine tuning (C G D G B E), but also the Taro Patch (G Major) tuning (D G D G B D), which furthermore is the most frequently used by Hawaiian lap steel players.
More info about the Hawaiian slack key tradition is available here
One of the contemporary masters of the Hawaiian slack key guitar tradition is Led Kaapana.
I suggest you to have a listen to soundclips from his 1994 live-album "Led Live!", available here
More info on Led Kaapana available here
Led Kaapana's website with discographical info and videoclips can be reached clicking here

Thursday, July 20, 2006

So Relax!

Today has been the warmest day in 2006 at my spot of the Globe, the temperature this afternoon reached +32 degrees Celcius. Not even a short rain shower was able to lower the temperature of the day, on the contrary at this moment the air is so humid that sweat is streaming at my fingers while writing this.
Anyway, under such circumstances the best thing to do is relaxing. So I have decided to relax in a pleasant company with one of my all time favorite musical performers, Leon Redbone. I suggest you to do the same, if you like to listen to great music and song in the good old tradition of our shared preferences. My choice of the Redbone legacy for today is his live-performance at the Olympia, Paris, from 1992, released on a cd in 2005.

Soundclips available here
More about Leon Redbone here and here

The official website of Mr. Redbone can be reached by clicking here


It's Hotter In Hawaii!

During the present heat wave I try to relax with a cool drink by my side and doing nothing but enjoying the sound of music from the South Sea Islands, dreaming away and knowing that at another place and time it's even hotter than at my spot of the Universe.
I recommend more than 4 hours of good company with wellknown and forgotten stars of the Hawaiian style, collected on a marvellous 4 cd-box from the JSP label to dream away and stand the heat.
Further info and soundclips available here

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Cheap Thrills - Pedal Your Blues Away!

With the temperature of the day reaching 30+ degrees Celcius you are automatically invited to slow down your regular activity to keep away from getting overheated. On the contrary, last week in Holland was also warm, however, then I experienced the thrill of eating pancakes and afterwards digesting on a bicylce-built-for-two (- actually a running wheel, see picure).
This small event reminded me today of the song 'Pedal Your Blues Away' recorded by R.Crumb and The Cheap Suit Serenaders. The song is on the secound cd by this unit, "Singing In The Bathtub", recorded during the late 1970'ies and first issued in the LP-format. If you don't know the Cheap Suit Serenaders and are anxious to learn more about this string band founded by the renowned 'underground' cartoonist and pasionate collector of rare 78 rpm records, Robert Crumb, I suggest you to have a look here.
Soundclips of The Cheap Suit Serenaders including 'Pedal Your Blues Away' are available here
More soundclips from the group's first cd are available here
To explore the world of Robert Crumb you'll have more info and links at his official website

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yamandú Costa - 7 String Guitar Ace

While I have been away from home during last week, spending my holidays in The Netherlands with my family and enjoying the company of Hans and Corrie, the postman has landed a couple of interesting cds in our mailbox - the subject for this posting. Both cds are featuring the Brazilian 7-string guitar player, Yamandú Costa.

'Yamandu Costa was born in Passo Fundo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, where he began his guitar studies with his father Algacir Costa, band leader of “Os Fronteiriços”, when he was 7 years old. Later, he perfected his technique with Lúcio Yanel, Argentine virtuoso who was then settled in Brazil.
Until the age of 15, Yamandú´s only music school was the folk music from the south of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Nevertheless, after he heard Radamés Gnatalli´s work, he decided to get in contact with the music of other renowned Brazilian musicians, such as Baden Powell, Tom Jobim, Raphael Rabello, among others. When he was 17, he played for the first time in São Paulo at “Circuito Cultural Banco do Brasil” (BB Cultural Tour). The event was produced by “Estúdio Tom Brazil” (Tom Brazil studio), and from then on he was recognized as one of the most gifted guitar players of Brazil.
Yamandu is a guitar player, composer and arranger that does not fit into a single music style, yet he creates his own when he combines all of them playing his 7-string guitar. Yamandu fully deserves his beautiful name which in “tupi-guarani”, the native language of Brazilian indians, means “the precursor of the waters of the world”.'

The above info is quoted from the official website of Yamandú Costa. Only part of this site is in English, but here you also will find further info on and soundclips from the two cds I just received.

The first is his debut-cd from 2001, just entitled "Yamandú"(Eldorado/sony Music, ELD-05-6002), which contains both solo performance and ensemble interplay, displaying Yamandú Costa's skills as a guitarist, composer and arranger. His 7 string acoustic guitar is treated in a convincing and most captivating way of playing that is quite unique, mixing classical tecnique with the fierce of flamenco style and the sophisticated chord structure of modern jazz and the various rhythms of Brazilian music. These influences altogether creates a most enjoyable album of music that is worth listening to over and again.

The next cd by Yamandú now in my collection is his secound release from 2003, "Yamandú Ao Vivo" (Abgi,YC00001). Here Yamandú performs in a trio setting and is accompanied by bass guitar and drums/percussion. The music is varied and mixes influences from both jazz and Brazilian sources - the cd even offers a rendition of renowned composer Radamés Gnattali's 'Brasiliana No 1' and a very personal reading of Django Reinhardt's 'Nuages'. All 12 tracks on the cd are worth listening, and the cd contains a bonus video-track of the live-recording of the cd, also available at Yamandú's website.

If you are interested in 'new waves' of acoustic string music Yamandú Costa is an artist to check out - don't forget to enjoy his contributions on the 'Brasileirinho' dvd/cd, too.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Six and Seven-Eights Stringband of NO

Hans has kindly asked me to supply you with daily postings here, while he is away on his holidays walking the dark forests of some German province and therefore is unable to update his keepswinging-blog. Thus, I'll start this task filling in some discographical info regarding the recordings by The Six and Seven-Eights Stringband of New Orleans - a subject, which was discussed some time ago at the keepswinging blog.
Until recently the Folkways/Smithsonian issue of recordings by The Six and Seven-Eights Stringband of NO was the only available, but now a new cd with all known recordings by this group finally has been released by an English label, 504 Records, CD28. According to the sleeve notes of this cd here is the correct discographical info:
(A): Bill Kleppinger (man), Bernie Shields (steel g), Frank "Red" Mackie (sb), Dr. Edmond Souchon (g,voc)
New Orleans, March 1950
- Floating Down The Old Green River
- Who's Sorry Now
- Tiger Rag
- Tico-Tico
- Up A Lazy River/There'll Be Some Changes Made
- Donna Clara
(B): Same personnel,
New Orleans, August 1954
- Winter Nights/Stumblin'
- Who's Sorry Now
- Clarinet Marmelade
- Jealous
- Tico-Tico
- Floating Down The Old Green River
- Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen
- Sunrise Sunset
- Medley in 'D'
- Josephine
- When The Saints Go Marching In
(C): Same personnel,
New Orleans, September 1954
- Winter Nights/Stumbling
- Original Dixieland One Step
- Floating Down The Old Green River
(D): Bill Kleppinger (man), Bernie Shields (steel g), Frank "Red" Mackie (sb), Rene Gelpi (bj), Charlie Hardy (uke), Dr. Edmond Souchon (g)
New Orleans, August 1955

- That Old Gang Of Mine
- Who's Sorry Now
- Panama
- High Society
(E): same as (A), but omit Bill Kleppinger, add Yvonne Treiner (voc)
New Orleans, August 1955
- You'll Never Know
(F): Rene Gelpi (bj), Charlie Hardy (uke), Dr. Edmond Souchon (p)
New Orleans, August 1955

- Canadian Capers
These recordings and the stated info above are what is available regarding The Six and Seven-Eights Stringband of New Orleans. I strongly recommend the mentioned new cd-release, which has better audio and 'new' material compared to the Folkways/Smithsonian issue.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Jacob do Bandolim

Yesterday while visiting a local record shop in Middelburg ( The Netherlands) we found a great CD of Jacob do Bandolim. It seems to be very hard to find choro CDs

Jørgen as-you-never-saw-him
In the evening the Alemaniacs shared their passion for choro music at a gathering to remember their 2005 Rediscovery of Oscar Aleman presentation in Copenhagen.

Oscar Aleman's roots were in choro music and during his more then 50 years in music he recorded dozens of choro tunes.Find more about Oscar Aleman at our Oscar Aleman blog or web site

Keep swinging


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Luíz Americano - Clarinet Choro (2)

Luiz Americano (1900-1960) is regarded one of the Brazilian masters of clarinet choro. Alvaro Neder writes about Americano in a career profile in AMG:
Luís Americano was a virtuoso of clarinet and a fundamental composer in the genre of choro. His classics are present in every self-respecting choro discography, and he has been re-recorded extensively by choro interpreters worldwide. Son of band conductor Jorge Americano, Luís began his musical studies on clarinet and saxophone very early. He joined the Army as a musician and was transferred to Rio in 1921. He was discharged the next year, when he became a professional musician, playing in nightclubs and dances. Americano joined the most important orchestras of those times, such as with Simon Boutman and Romeu Silva. He began to record in the '20s for Odeon and worked for American drummer and bandleader Gordon Stretton, with whom he toured Argentina in 1928. He stayed there, joining the Adolfo Carabelli Orchestra. In 1930, he came back to Rio, where he joined Rádio Mayrink Veiga's orchestra and formed the American Jazz Orchestra, which recorded for Victor. In 1932, he began to write great choro hits that firmly established him as a major composer (such as "É do Que há"), along with his exceptional capabilities as a clarinetist. In the same year, he joined Grupo da Guarda Velha. In 1936, he formed Trio Carioca with Radamés Gnattali (piano), Luciano Perrone (drums) to play American standards in the choro idiom. In August 1940, he was one of the talents chosen by Pixinguinha for Stokowski's recordings representing Latin America, where he interpreted his "Intrigas no Buteco do Padilha," "Tocando pra Você," and "Luís Americano no Lido" (Native Brazilian Music, Vol. 2 and Columbia album Luis Americano: Tocanda Pra Você). In 1950, Americano joined Rádio Nacional as a supporting musician with its varied ensembles and orchestras, where he worked and composed until his death.
Sound-clips available here

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Abel Ferreira - Clarinet Choro (1)

Abel Ferreira (1915-1980) is considered one of the most important names in the choro genre.As a true maestro of the clarinet he excelled his skills in various orchestras and was featured on radio. Throughout the 1950'ies and 1960'ies he accumulated a good deal of international experience, touring both Europe and USA. Throughout that period, the choro genre showed a decrease of interest from audiences, but Ferreira managed to keep himself in good shape, ready to profit on the revival of choro in the '70s as one of the most important names.An excellent improviser, Ferreira had his best moments in recordings with the Cinco Companheiros (where he played with Pixinguinha, among others). His most successful compositions are the choros "Chorando Baixinho" and "Acariciando."
A career profile including soundclips at AMG
More soundclips at AllBrazilianMusic

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Big Band Choro

Choro and choro-related music is usually performed by stringensembles, but there are renowned exceptions in the story of Brazilian popular music - one of them beeing the big band recordings and performances by the Orchestra Tabajara. This big band is lead by clarinetist Severinho Araújo (b 1917) and has been around for more than 60 years. With almost 13,000 performances worldwide, they figure in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest orchestra still in evidence. The Tabajara orchestra is considered similar to Glenn Miller's and also doubles clarinet and sax in the same way as Miller's. The Tabajara orchestra plays music from all over the world with a Brazilian swing, but excels also in choro. The recording of "Espinha de Bacalhau", a choro by Araújo, was a huge hit and is still considered the signature tune of Araújo and his big band.
More about Severinho Araújo including soundclips at AMG
More soundclips at AllBrazilianMusic

Sunday, July 02, 2006


A year ago I was introduced to Choro music by my friend Jørgen Larsen, co-editor of his blog. In Copenhagen (Denmark) we joined the group Choro Brasil Scandinavia in a concert and a jam session with Jacob Fischer, a Danish jazz guitarist and his trio.

During the period that followed Jørgen fed me with choro music from the early days with names as Jacob Do Bandolim, Pixinguinha and Azevedo.

As in need of information Jørgen pointed me to a book, called Choro, a Social History Of a Brazilian Popular Music.
We found out that a documentary was made about Choro music, called Brasileirinho, by the Finnish film maker Mika Kaurismäki. It appeared to be difficult to obtain a copy, but last week the DVD was finally released in Holland and so I got mine.

My copy ( the Dutch version - spoken in Portuguese with Dutch and French subtitles) of

Brasileirinho contains a DVD and a CD with the soundtrack ( Up to now I haven't listened to that one).

Brasileirinho isn't a choro history or something like that - it introduces and follows a group of choro players, who talk about there common passion of choro and how this kind of music is integrated in their daily life. There is a lot of music in it - and one could compare it with the well known Buena Vista Social Club documentary in which Wim Wenders follows a group of Cuban musicians. The musicians tell about their instruments, about how they got involved in choro music, We follow them at rehearsals or discussions about harmonic structures and for me it was striking to learn how much choro and jazz have in common.

The documentary ends with a concert, on choro day, 23 april (the birthday of Pixinguinha), in which all musicians, from young to old, play their music.

Of course Jørgen will present us an extensive review later,as soon as he has his copy - I'm sure. He's the expert of the two of us.

In the mean time I'd suggest - get yourself a copy of this great portrait of Choro music.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Zequinha de Abreu - The Composer of 'Tico-tico no fúba'

Zequinha de Abreu was born in Santa Rita do Passa Quatro, SP, in 1880, the first of 8 children, and was reportedly playing tunes on a harmonica by the time he was 5. At the age of 10 he was playing flute and clarinet and writing tunes in his first band. But his mother wanted him to be a priest, and his father a doctor, so he was sent away to school in Sao Paulo. By the age of 16, however, he had run away from the Episcopal Seminary and gone back to Santa Rita, deciding on a career as a musician. He was directing his first orchestra by the time he was 17. It soon became known as the best in the region, and he continued to perform at dances, parties, and accompanying silent films for the next 20 years. Abreu married when he was 18, and supported his family (he would have 8 children) with the orchestra, by writing choro, marches, tangos, waltzes and other music, and by working a variety of political jobs, like secretary of the City Council.
In 1919, when his father died, Abreu moved his family to Sao Paulo. There he continued as a popular, much-requested performer in bars and cabarets, and began going door-to-door to demonstrate his compositions and sell the sheet music. He also worked as a "sheet music demonstrator" at Casa Beethoven, playing songs for people looking to buy music. At the time, before radio and the recording industry were established, this was an important way for composers to create interest in their own music by playing it between requests.
While working at Casa Beethoven, Abreu met Vincente Vitale, who had recently started a music publishing house. In 1924, Vitale published Abreu's waltz "Branca," which was a huge success, and the two began a lifelong collaboration. Vitale became the exclusive publisher for Abreu's music, and actually paid him a monthly salary just to write music, a very unusual arrangement for a composer at that time.
During his lifetime, Zequinha de Abreu was a popular musician who enjoyed regional fame for his music. He was said to be quiet, happy, kind, and humble about his own success. He was involved in music for his whole life, performing, giving piano lessons to children, writing and selling his compositions, improvising for hours on the piano, and accompaning the performances of two of his own children, Durval and Dermeval. He died in 1935, at the age of 54, and it would be 7 years before Carmen Miranda made his "Tico Tico" an international hit. Although none of his other pieces has approached the popularity of "Tico Tico," Zequinha de Abreu was certainly not a one-hit-wonder. His influence on Brazilian music during his lifetime – through his performances and his association with Vitale Publishing – is indisputable.
"Tico Tico" [composed 1917] has been a perennial favorite with instrumentalists for over 60 years, and is probably the most frequently recorded choro of all time.
Excerpt of web article on Abreu
Career profile at AMG including soundclips
61 versions of 'Tico-Tico' available here