Tag Archives: Bossa Nova

A Conversation With Sergio Mendes (TIDAL Magazine)

What a pleasure to interview Sergio Mendes, one of my musical heroes since I was a kid. The article appears in TIDAL Magazine, the highly readable online publication of the TIDAL streaming service (owned by Jay-Z).

Here’s one bit that didn’t make the final piece:

“Mas Que Nada” – Sergio’s signature song since Brasil ’66, a song that became the first-ever worldwide hit in Portuguese. The title means, approximately, “Yeah, right,” sarcastically, in Brazilian Portuguese. Sergio recalled when he heard the song for the first time:

“It was in Bottles Bar (the legendary Rio jazz hangout that witnessed the birth of Bossa Nova), maybe ’61 or ’62.  This young kid, Jorge Ben, came in with his guitar and started playing it. It was so different from the very melodic stuff Jobim would do, a different vibe. But a great chant! When I play it in Japan, the Japanese sing along with it – it’s like the national anthem!”

I asked if he had any idea the song could become such an enormous worldwide hit in its original language. “Never!” he said. “When I first heard my record of it on the radio [in 1966], I called Herb [Alpert, his producer at A&M Records]. He said, “Sergio I think we’ve got a big hit here!” 


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Filed under Antonio Carlos Jobim, Bossa Nova, Brazilian music, Cannonball Adderley, Frank Sinatra, Guinga, Herb Alpert, Hermeto Pascoal, Joao Donato, Milton Nascimento, Moacir Santos, Quincy Jones, Sergio Mendes, Stevie Wonder

João Gilberto, the Voice of Bossa Nova, Dies at 88 (DownBeat)

“Look at the wind tearing out the trees’ hair … .”

“But trees don’t have hair, João,” said the psychologist.

“And some people have no poetry in their souls,” he replied.

For my DownBeat obit on the genius João Gilberto, I spoke with Eliane Elias and the legendary Wanda Sá.

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Filed under Bossa Nova, Brazilian music, Chris McNulty, Downbeat, Joao Gilberto, Music Writing and Clips, Stan Getz, Uncategorized

Brazilian singer Clara Moreno, daughter of Joyce, re-imagines a jazz samba classic

clara-morenoClara Moreno is the daughter of the Bossa Nova stars Joyce Moreno (universally known in Brazil as just Joyce) and bandleader/composer Nelson Angelo. More to the point, she is a terrific samba singer. Her 7th album, Samba Esquema Novo (De Novo) (translation: “New Style Samba—Again”) on the U.K.’s Far Out Records, re-imagines a seminal 1963 album (Samba Esquema Novo) by the influential singer-songwriter Jorge Ben. He’s the guy who wrote the international hit “Mas Que Nada” (see Clara’s version below). If all this sounds a bit esoteric to you, I guarantee the rhythm will get you where you live. Here’s a “Players” profile I did about Clara from the November 2016 issue of DownBeat.  You can find the album here.

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Filed under Bossa Nova, Brazilian music, Clara Moreno, Jorge Ben

Gilberto Gil Salutes João Gilberto at New York’s Town Hall

Gilberto Gil at Town Hall in New York City on April 23 (Photo: ©Jack Vartoogian/FrontRowPhotos)

The sell-out crowd on April 23 was there for a heady dose of saudade for Brazil, and Gil, accompanying himself on guitar, delivered. My concert review in DownBeat

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Filed under Bossa Nova, Downbeat, Gilberto Gil, Joao Gilberto

Two Bossa Nova Masters Meet at Birdland


Marcos Valle at Birdland (photo: Fran Kaufman)

Two of the founders of Brazil’s Bossa Nova movement (and it was a movement), Marcos Valle and Roberto Menescal appeared together in NYC for the first time recently.  Even if you don’t know their names, I’ll bet you know some of their tunes. Just got around to posting my review from DownBeat.com.

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June 20, 2014 · 11:05 am

Luciana Souza and Romero Lubambo at NYC’s Jazz Standard – my review in Jazz Times

Luciana and Romero

Luciana Souza & Romero Lubambo (photo: Atael Weissman)

RT @jazztimes: Luciana Souza and Romero Lubambo at NYC’s Jazz Standard – my review in Jazz Times http://t.co/vtHYR0b4

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Filed under Bossa Nova, Brazilian music, Jazz, Jazz Times, Luciana Souza, Music Writing and Clips

My DownBeat interview with Luciana Souza and Larry Klein

Luciana Souza and producer/husband Larry Klein discuss her two new albums, “The Book of Chet” and “Duos III,” their music, their marriage and much more in this interview published in the October 2012 DownBeat. You can read it here.

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Filed under Downbeat, Larry Klein, Luciana Souza, Music Writing and Clips

Coming soon – two new albums by Luciana Souza, and my interview with her in Downbeat

I recently traveled to L.A. to interview the wonderful singer/composer Luciana Souza – and her equally brilliant producer-husband Larry Klein – for a feature story in DownBeat. The article will preview two new albums to be released simultaneously in late August.

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Filed under Downbeat, Luciana Souza, Music Writing and Clips

Bossa Nova is alive and well…

Lunch with Paula Morelenbaum and Bill Broadfoot, prior to Paula’s gig at Birdland

Friday’s sold-out ‘BossaBrazil’ show at Birdland included a tribute to Astrud Gilberto’s landmark recording of “The Girl From Ipanema,” which is approaching its 50th anniversary. At Birdland it was sung impeccably by the Brazilian bossa nova star Paula Morelenbaum, who shared the bill with another Brazilian great, keyboardist/songwriter Marcos Valle. Before the gig, I had lunch with Atlanta composer/arranger Bill Broadfoot & Paula (see photo); the two are collaborating on a new version of another Astrud song, “Only Trust Your Heart.”

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Filed under Bill Broadfoot and Rustic Materials, Paula Morelenbaum

Brazilian Singing Star Paula Morelenbaum Headlines BossaBrazil Festival at Birdland April 24-28

Check this out — the internationally acclaimed Brazilian music artist Paula Morelenbaum will headline a Brazilian music festival at Birdland in NYC, April 24-28.   And I get to meet her… because she’s the featured vocalist on “Only Trust Your Heart,” the first single release by my talented client, Atlanta bossa nova composer/arranger Bill Broadfoot and his band Rustic Materials.   Paula and her husband, cellist Jaques Morelenbaum, toured and recorded with Antonio Carlos Jobim for a decade before the duo became major ambassadors of Brazilian music to the world.  Jaques also appears on “Only Trust Your Heart.” See more info about the Birdland gig below…

Delta Air Lines Presents BOSSABRASIL Festival 2012 featuring Marcos Valle and Paula Morelenbaum

Delta Air Lines Presents BossaBrasil Festival 2012
featuring Composer and Keyboardist Marcos Valle
and Guest Vocalist Paula Morelenbaum
Sponsored by Hotel Edison NYC and Verizon
Produced by Pat Philips & Ettore Stratta
Marcos Valle is one of the major songwriters of Brazilian popular music with songs recorded by Sarah Vaughan, Jay-Z, Diana Krall, Chicago, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, Toots Thielemans, Joe Pass, Astrud Gilberto, Bebel Gilberto, Sergio Mendes and more.

Paula Morelenbaum is one of Brazil’s most celebrated singers. After 10 years with Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Band she continued to explore the Bossa legacy with numerous recordings, one with her husband critically acclaimed cellist Jacques Morelenbaum and Jobim’s son Paulo and his grandson Daniel. She received international acclaim in the Trio Morelenbaum2/Sakamoto which featured the prominent Composer and Pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto. The NY Times said their performance at Carnegie Hall “…delivered Jobim’s songs with a sense of almost holy rapture.”

Marcos Valle and Paula Morelenbaum will be accompanied by vocalist Patricia Alvi, bassist Itaiguara Brandao, drummer Renato “Massa” Calmon, trumpeter Jesse Sadoc, Jorge Continentino (sax and flute) and Paul Meyers (guitar).

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Filed under Bill Broadfoot and Rustic Materials