Friday, November 17, 2006

Brasil Guitar Magic!

When I started my research of Brazilian guitarists and recordings a couple of years ago, one of the first issues I came across was the shown cd, a compilation of selected tracks from the output of two major Brazilian guitarists, Laurindo Almeida and Baden Powell. The cd (ABCD 115) has solo performance as well as ensemble recordings by both guitarists seperately, and the repertoire mainly contains Brazilian compositions in the samba, bossa and classical style. What fascinated me from the start was the mixture of different musical genres, but also the fact that both Almeida and Powell are excellent musicians displaying an elaborate guitar playing technique of the acoustic guitar, magnificent examples of how it can be treated properly.

Laurindo Almeida (1917-1995) helped introduce the Brazilian guitar to jazz, and on his 1954 recordings with Bud Shank was essentially playing bossa nova seven years before Stan Getz. After spending time as a staff guitarist in Brazil, Almeida moved to Los Angeles and was a member of Stan Kenton's orchestra (1947-1948). A studio guitarist in L.A. from 1950 on, Almeida also continued playing jazz along with classical music. A decade after the Shank sessions, Almeida recorded some best-selling bossa nova dates for Capitol. He co-founded the L.A. Four in the mid-'70s (which reunited him with Bud Shank), collaborated on recordings with Charlie Byrd, and made several worthwhile sessions for Concord.

I found a live-performance by Almeida on British TV from the 60'ies, he is accompanied by The Modern Jazz Quartet, enjoy it by clicking here

Baden Powell (1937-2000) was from a family of prominent Brazilian musicians, he started playing professionally at the age of 15. He first achieved fame through his work with the poet Vincius de Moraes, who wrote lyrics for many of Baden Powell's compositions. In 1962 he recorded in a duo with Herbie Mann and from the mid-60ies he toured Europe and made numerous appearances at jazz festivals and on TV, mainly in Germany and France. He continued recording up till the end in various settings.

Enjoy a live-performance by Baden Powell from the 60ies by clicking here



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