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 



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