This is a truly remarkable recording and features fifteen tracks that make for a stellar tribute bossa nova, before it became the Bossa Nova. These fifteen tracks were all written and most of them were performed during the 1940s and 1950s. There have been many recordings that purport to pay tribute to various historic periods in music, but none have been so exquisitely rendered in the modern context and performed with such panache. Although credit for this Samba Meets Boogie Woogie must go largely to Mario Adnet for the arrangements and musical direction, and also to Alfredo del-Penho for the repertoire research, every performer here also deserves to be credited for his or her contributions. For in the end it is not just this remarkable music that is the highlight of this record, but also the musicians who have pulled it off.
The title of the recording suggests a collision of cultures. This is an explosion between the musical folk art of Brazil and American – and by inference, European – popular song and dance music. But this suggestion is only ironic, even misleading. What is more acceptable is to hear how the music of Brazil reacted and responded to the “invasion” of the popular music of the United States and Europe. Here is the evidence: A roistering extravaganza of the music of Haroldo Barbosa, Denis Brean, Janet de Almeida, Heitor dos Prazeres, Gordurinha, Jackson do Pandeiro and others tongues firmly in cheek as they reacted with typical Brazilian “alegria” to American song.
It is a sort of gentle cutting contest where musicians of the 40s and 50s between the samba that infused all of Brazilian life and the affectations of rock and roll. In “Chiclete com Banana,” for instance, Almira Castilho wrote, “I’ll only put bebop in my samba/when I see Uncle Sam playing the tamborim/If he picks up a pandeiro and a drum…” The irony contained in this song is something that echoes throughout the record. It is a gentle sort of irony that sets the record straight. It is almost as if the musicians of the Brazilian 1940s and 1950s were saying that this bossa nova begat the boogie woogie. The gentle irony of Castilho’s song is echoed in the words – not to mention the music – of the other tracks as well. “Baiana no Harlem,” and “Boogie Woogie na Favela” are other fine examples of the music that will certainly go a long way into making this record one of the most significant documents of Latin American music in 2008.
It is impossible to single out any specific performances on the record, or any one or two musicians who make this record stand out from the many that were released in that year. This is because the record is an ensemble cast recording. Everyone contributes in some way shape or form – whether it is vocally or instrumentally. But deserving of special mention are Rodrigo Campello, who plays seven-string guitar, Marcos Nimrichter, on accordion, trombonist Vittor Santos, Hamilton de Holanda on mandolin and Nicolas Krassik on violin. They keep the instrumental voices fresh. And their brief soloing is imaginative yet all too brief. Also Mario Adnet and Alfredo del-Penho have undertaken a task that is not based on a well-known period in Brazil’s musical history and turned it into a spectacular affair. They have succeeded in bringing to life a rare and little-known period in Latin American music one that may actually grow to become a very popular one, the more this record is played. And for this they deserve a huge round of applause.
Tracks: Adeus America (Farewell America); Boogie Woogie do Rate (The Rat Boogie Woogie); Eu Sambo Mesmo (I Samba); Baiana no Harlem (Baiana in Harlem); Conversa de Samba (Samba Talk); Tintim por Tintim (Bit by Bit); Boogie Woogie na Favela (Shanty Town Boogie Woogie); Eu Quero um Samba (I Want a Samba); Morena Faceira (Naughty Brunette); Nada de Rock Rock (No More Rock Rock); Pra que Discutir com Madame (Why Argue with a Madam); Malandro em Paris (Rascal in Paris); O Trombone do Tribuza (Tribuza’s Trombone); Chiclete com Banana (Chewing Gum with Banana); Brasil Pandeiro (Brazilian Pandeiro).
Personnel: Monica Salmaso; Roberta Sa; Maucha Adnet; Mario Adnet; Alfredo Del-Penho; Ze Renato
Featuring: Hamilton de Holanda; Cristovao Bastos; Jovino Santos Neto; Armando Marcal; Vittor Santos; Jesse Sadoc; Jorge Helder, Ze Luis Maia; and many others.
Samba Meets Boogie Woogie on the web: www.adventure-music.com
Review written by: Raul da Gama