Saturday, May 14, 2016

Jackie Gage & Joomanji live in LA, May 16

On Monday, May 16, vocalist Jackie Gage will be joining Joomanji for a special night of music @ the Blue Whale (123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St, Ste 301, Los Angeles, California.) Jackie performs at  9:00 pm. Joomanji at 10:30 pm. Tickets are $10 and can be reserved here:
http://www.bluewhalemusic.com/event/2016/5/16/joomanjijackie

Gifted with a velvet voice, rich as smooth wine, Jackie Gage has been called "the Sade of jazz," but she goes far beyond this definition and possesses a personal musical grace that channels torch singers of decades past, mixing elements of jazz, soul, and R&B into her music. Since the release of her debut album "Siren Songs" last month, Gage has garnered press from Afropunk, Singers Room, and All About Jazz, among many others.

Her debut CD showcases a tremendously talented artist, in total command of her vocal powers, displaying great expressiveness and destined to become one of the most important newcomers on the contemporary jazz scene.

Joining Gage will be guitarist Ash Jangda, keyboardist Sam Barsh, drummer Max MacVeety and special guest, vibraphonist Justephan Thomas.

Gage, who recently relocated to New York City from San Jose, has firmly made her mark in her home state with annual tours from Sacramento to San Diego. As a 2014 Jazz Search West finalist, she was awarded performances at nationally recognized venues Yoshi's Oakland, the Freightand Salvage in Berkeley and the Sound Room in Oakland. In addition, she has performed at the Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Jose Summer Fest and Berkeley Juneteeth, among others.

Joomanji was formed in 2010 by Jonah Christian, Amir Oosman, and Robert Finucane. Their first release, MANJ, gained attention from Earmilk, BamaLoveSoul, and Pigeons & Planes, and hit #1 on Bandcamp's Neo-Soul & Nu-Jazz Top 500 charts, respectively. The group has also been featured on Bandcamp's Weekly homepage and Reddit's official best of 2013 "ListentoThis". Productions consist of live recordings mixed intermittently with vinyl chops. The resulting music is a fusion of crisp instrumentals with that vintage sound that us hip hop heads all love.
Listen at soundcloud.com/joomanji

R.I.P.: Joe Temperley (1929-2016)

(born on September 20, 1929 in Fife, Scotland;
died on May 12, 2016 in New York, NY, USA)

The great Scottish baritone sax player passed away on May 12 in NYC, after a long battle against cancer. He was 86. Besides some marvelous albums as a leader ("Nightingale," Just Friends," "Double Duke," "Sunbeam and Thundercloud," "With Every Breath," "A Portrait," "Cocktails For Two," and "Saxploitation," among them), Temperley developed a brilliant career as a sideman. From swing to fusion, from mainstream jazz to funk.

After several recordings with James Brown (reissued in 2009 on the CD compilation "The Singles, Volume 8: 1972-1973"), he joined Eumir Deodato's band during 1973 and 1974, recording on such albums as "Deodato 2," "In Concert - Live At Felt Forum" and "Whirlwinds." Soon after he joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra, conducted by Mercer Ellington, Duke's son. In 1988, Temperley became a founding member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

But he started to gain prominence in London 40 years earlier, when switched to baritone sax when joining Humphrey Lyttelton's big band in 1958, after many years as tenorist on Tommy Sampson’s band. While in the U.K., Temperley also recorded with Tony Crombie, Victor Feldman and was a member of Kenny Graham's Afro-Cubists.

Moving to New York in 1965, he became the first Scottish musician to make a big impact on the American jazz scene, recording with Jimmy Knepper, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Luiz Bonfa, John Barry, Joe Henderson, Gerry Mulligan, Ernie Wilkins, Buck Clayton, Dick Hyman, Jon Hendricks, Phyllis Hyman, Paula West, Scott Hamilton, Tony Falanga, Anthony Wilson, Benny Carter, and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra.

In 1988, Wynton Marsalis invited several Ellington alumni, including Mr. Temperley, to perform in an all-star big band for an Ellington tribute. That band evolved into the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Temperley played in the Broadway show "Sophisticated Ladies" in the 1980s, and his film soundtrack credits include Cotton Club, Biloxi Blues, Brighton Beach Memoirs, When Harry Met Sally, and Tune In Tomorrow (composed by Wynton Marsalis.) Temperley is a mentor and co-founder of the FIFE Youth Jazz Orchestra program in Scotland, which now enrolls 70 young musicians, ages 7–17, playing in three full-size bands.

“For someone from another country and culture to exhibit the depth of belief that animated his sound was, and still is, truly miraculous,” Marsalis said in a JALC statement announcing Mr. Temperley’s death. “From the coal mines of Scotland, to clubs and concert halls all over the world. Joe’s journey was epochal, and he did it with integrity, style, piss and vinegar. We will miss him deeply and his spirit will forever live on in the sound of our orchestra.” Rest in Peace.


Requiem Mass to João Palma

Requiem Mass to drummer Joao Palma next Tuesday, May 17, at 6pm in Rio de Janeiro.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Singer Sivan Arbel announces debut album, "Broken Lines," to be released June 1st

Vocalist and composer Sivan Arbel is proud to announce the June 1st release of her debut album "Broken Lines". With her debut, Arbel breaks the mold with angular yet beautiful melodies, sophisticated arrangements and emotionally charged lyrics that bring listeners on an unforgettable journey into a new realm of contemporary jazz.

Born and raised in Israel, Sivan Arbel studied in Dublin, Ireland before moving to New York City, where she currently resides. Accompanied by a collective of international musicians, Sivan's multicultural journey shines through over the course of "Broken Lines". "The sound of this album is inspired by all of the people I have encountered and the experiences I have had along my journey," says Sivan, "..."Broken Lines" personifies the journey of an organic musician."

​Six of the seven tracks are original compositions and each one tells a unique and compelling story with each lyric carefully crafted and bolstered by the musical current below it. "Every note I sing and lyric I write has enormous meaning behind it," she says. The deeply personal nature of the album is evident on "Analysis", which highlights its emotional lyrics over dreamy arpeggios to cacophony, on the sweeping dedication to her father, "For Aba", and on the driving "Open My Tube of Art". On the Miles Davis-Bill Evans opus "Blue and Green" her creativity as an improviser and arranger is on full display.

To celebrate the release of "Broken Lines", Sivan will be appearing at Shapeshifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY on June 16th at 9:30 PM and at Club Bonafide in New York, NY on June 24th at 11 PM.
Sivan Arbel is a graduate of the Rimon School of Music in Israel as well as the Newpark Music Centre in Dublin, Ireland. Before relocating to New York City in 2014, Sivan established herself as a prominent vocalist in Israel with her quartet and eventually went on to represent Israel in 2012 as the headliner at the Israeli Independence Day celebration in Venezuela. In 2014, Sivan represented the Newpark Music Centre in Cape Town, South Africa at the prestigious International Association of Schools of Jazz conference spearheaded by NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman. Following the IASJ, Sivan made her move to New York City, where she quickly established herself as a rising star.

Marcina Arnold w/Ricardo dos Santos in London

If you are in London, don't miss the Marcina Arnold Quartet live @ Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Bar & Brasserie (140 Newington Butts) this Friday, May 13.

The group features Brazilian bassist Ricardo dos Santos (who played with Joao Donato and Joao Donato), pianist Andrew McKormack and drummer Shaney Forbes.

Willy Rodriguez Quintet live in NY, May 13

Also on May 13, but in NY, the Willy Rodriguez Quintet will be performing at Rockwood Music Hall (185 Orchard Street) at 11:30 pm. Featuring Godwin Louis, Victor Gould, Hery Paz, Tamir Shmerling and a rare appearance by renowned publicist Lydia Liebman (yes, the daughter of the legendary Dave Liebman) on vocals.

For reservations, please call: (212) 477-4155.

Willy Rodriguez was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and began playing drums at age thirteen. He received his musical start playing throughout Puerto Rico in rock and pop bands. When Willy was twenty-one he started working as the Musical Director and drummer for Latin American Idol’s touring group. Following his experience at Idol, he was awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in 2007.

His reputation as a skilled musician spread quickly in the Boston area and he began playing extensively with musicians such as Jason Palmer and Andre Heyward. At Berklee, Willy studied with a host of famed teachers such as Terri-Lyne Carrington, Yoron Israel, Ralph Peterson and Greg Osby. He was awarded the Evans/Daddario scholarship during his time at Berklee. Willy’s reputation grew due to his association with Wally’s Jazz Cafe, the famed jazz club located in Boston’s historic South End, where he conducted the famous weekend jam sessions. Eventually, Willy began performing every Thursday at Wally’s with his salsa group ‘The 427 Flavah Factory’.

In 2014, Willy graduated from New England Conservatory with a Master’s degree in Jazz Drum Performance. At NEC, he studied with Miguel Zenon, Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Moses, Billy Hart and Cecil McBee, among others. He has performed alongside some of the premier musicians in jazz including Randy Weston, Dave Holland and Dave Liebman, with whom he has recorded and played with extensively.

Along with being an established performer, Willy is an accomplished educator and teacher with over ten years of experience. He has taught at the famous Community Music School of Boston, Young Artists of Massachusetts, the IBA, and has given workshops at the Panama Jazz Festival 2014.

Boston Symphony Hall, Roccella Jazz Festival, Panama Jazz Festival, Cape Verde Jazz Festival, Berklee Performance Center, Jordan Hall, and Mechanics Hall are just some of the renowned festivals and venues Willy has performed at. He has appeared on a variety of recordings including "Ceremony," the most recent release from NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman.

Monday, May 9, 2016

R.I.P.: João Palma (1941-2016)

One of the world's greatest drummers, João Palma just passed away today, May 09, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, the same city where he was born on January 16, 1941 (not 1943, as mentioned in many sites.) Known as "The aristocrat from the drum world," Palma was 75.

Renowned music historian Alex Henderson wrote about him in the prestigious All Music Guide website: "... João Palma commands the sort of respect that has been given to Max Roach in hard bop, John Bonham in heavy metal/hard rock, and Ray Barretto in salsa/Afro-Cuban music; in other words, he is widely regarded as one of the best drummers in his field... Over the years, Palma has been compared to various American jazz drummers; perhaps the most accurate comparison is cool jazz icon Shelly Manne. Clearly, jazz' cool school has had a major impact on Palma's playing, and like Manne, Palma is a master of subtlety, restraint, and understatement. Another valid comparison is American post-bop drummer Joe Chambers, who is also known for his use of subtlety."

Joao Palma (born João Ferreira da Silva Palma) started his career in the late 50s, and did his first gig at the famous Bottle's Bar, in the Beco das Garrafas (Bottle's Alley), in Copacabana, as a member of Johnny Alf's trio, with Alf on piano and Sebastião Neto on bass. He was also a member of Copa Trio (with Toninho Oliveira on piano and Manuel Gusmão on bass), being replaced by Dom Um Romao when he was enlisted to Army.

Back on the block, Palma soon became one of the most important bossa nova drummers, and one of the most respected names in that new (and brilliant) generation of young Brazilian musicians.
During a gig as a member of pianist Eumir Deodato's combo at the now-defunct TV Rio, guitarist Roberto Menescal appeared and invited the band to become his group. "Menescal had signed a record deal, but had no group," Palma once told me. "Since we were all friends, he made that proposal and Deodato accepted." The other guys on the band were Sergio Barroso (bass), Ugo Marotta (vibes), Henri Ackselrud (flute) and Celso Brando (rhythm guitar).
With the "new" Roberto Menescal E Seu Conjunto, Palma recorded one album for the Imperial label (with Celso Brando playing rhythm guitar plus a horn section arranged by Deodato), and two for Elenco ("A Bossa Nova de Roberto Menescal" and "A Nova Bossa Nova de Roberto Menescal E Seu Conjunto"), plus an all-star session with singers Sylvia Telles and Lucio Alves titled "Bossa Session".

Palma also played on Lucio Alves' "Balançamba" (arranged by Carlos Monteiro de Souza) and in a live date by Maysa, recorded at the Au Bon Gourmet club (without Menescal and with Copinha replacing Henri on flute), all produced by Aloysio de Oliveira. For another label, RGE, he recorded in 1964 on Wanda Sá's debut album, "Wanda Vagamente."
                  (João Palma with members of Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66)

Moving to the USA in 1965, he joined Sergio Mendes' new band and recorded the grundbreaking album "Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66," which included the mega hit "Mas Que Nada." He settled in Los Angeles, and toured all over the world with Mendes for three years. Two more best-selling albums for A&M followed: "Equinox" and "Look Around."
However, his first session with Mendes had been the instrumental album "The Great Arrival." And, actually, his first gigs in the U.S. with the pianist were in a group that included Sebastião Neto (bass), Marcos Valle (guitar), Anamaria Valle (vocals) and José Soarez (percussion).
(from left to right: Joao Palma, Sergio Mendes, Janis Hansen, José Soarez, Bob Matthews & Lani Hall)

But, when the Brasil 66 signed with A&M, the line-up was Mendes, Palma, Soarez, bassist Bob Matthews, and singers Bibi Vogel (soon replaced by Janis Hansen) and Lani Hall. But Mrs. Vogel is the one who appears in the cover photo of the amazing "Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes & Barsil 66."
         (João Palma in an advertisement for Camco Drum, 1966)
When he left Mendes' group, Palma moved to New York to join Walter Wanderley's combo, recording two critically acclaimed sessions @ Van Gelder Studios, both produced by Creed Taylor for A&M/CTI: "When It Was Done" (1968, mostly arranged by Don Sebesky, who became a big fan of him) and "Moondreams" (1969, arranged by Deodato, featuring Hubert Laws and Marvin Stamm.)
Also in 1969, Palma did another important project for CTI, "Courage," Milton Nascimento's first album recorded in the USA, playing alongside Herbie Hancock on piano and José Marino on bass.
That same year, he became Antonio Carlos Jobim's drummer (from 1969 to 1976) and their first session together was on Frank Sinatra's "Sinatra & Company" (recorded in February 1969 but only released in 1971) for Reprise, with Deodato on piano & arrangements, Chuck Berghofer on bass, Jobim on acoustic guitar, and Morris Stoloff conducting the orchestra.
{Actually, that second second Sinatra-Jobim session was originally scheduled for release in June 1969, with the original "bus" cover shown below. Only a few promo copies were pressed and the release was cancelled, although a rare single with "Song of the Sabiá" came out in Italy! Then, in 1971, seven of those ten bossa nova songs finally did appear on the Side A of the "Sinatra & Company" album, that also included seven pop songs arranged by Don Costa on Side B. And, in 1980, a 2-LP set compiled by Roberto Quartin for WEA Brasil, "The Sinatra-Jobim Sessions." mixed songs from their '67 & '69 meetings. In 2010, a 20-track CD titled "Sinatra/Jobim - The Complete Reprise Recordings" was released in the USA, with terrible liner notes, no credits for the musicians, and with all tunes terribly remixed, ruining the "light as a feather" essence of those sessons.}
After the 1969 Sinatra-Jobim sessions, four landmark albums with Jobim followed: "Tide," "Stone Flower," (both from 1970, recorded during the same sessions), "Jobim" -- recorded in 1972 and released in 1973 in Brazil as "Matita Perê," including the most famous version of "Waters of March"; Palma also did the original recording of that song in 1972, for a rare single issued as "Disco de Bolso" by the Pasquim newspaper --, and "Urubu" (recorded in 1975, released in 1976.)
Two tracks from those albums -- "Brazil" (Aquarela do Brasil) from "Stone Flower," and "Ligia" from "Urubu" -- are among the best recordings ever done by a drummer, a splendid showcase of Palma's unique brushwork.
Since I bought my first copy of "Stone Flower" I became fascinated with Palma's solo on "Brazil," but always regreted the fade-out in the end. In 1989, when supervising the first U.S. CD reissue of that album (released by CBS/Epic), there was a decision to remix everything from the original multi-track tapes that had been found; that led me to be able to extend the track from 7m20s to 9m40s. We also found an alternate take of "Brazil" that was played by Palma using sticks instead of brushes, with a string section overdubbed by Deodato, and it was added to the CD as a bonus track.
Later on, I also supervised CD reissues of "Stone Flower" in 2000, 2006 and 2009 for the Japanese market, but using the original Van Gelder mix, since CTI's distributor in Japan, King Records, was not allowed to remix anything. Anyway, specially in the 2009 issue on SHM-CD, I did my best to enhance Palma's performances throughout the album, in terms of sonic quality.
Adored by such arrangers as Claus Ogerman (who scored "Matita Perê" and "Urubu") and Don Sebesky, and producers like Creed Taylor and Tommy LiPuma, Palma continued to develop a brilliant international career, recording albums with Astrud Gilberto ("Gilberto with Turrentine"), Stanley Turrentine ("The Sugar Man"), Paul Desmond ("Bridge Over Troubled Water," a jazzy Paul Simon songbook recorded alongside Hancock and Ron Carter), Robin Kenyatta ("Stompin' At The Savoy," a rare case of session he did playing percussion), George Russell (the guitarist, not the arranger, on "His Guitar And Music") and many others, including a never released 1977 session with Joyce (arranged & produced by Ogerman, featuring Michael Brecker, Joe Farrell, Buster Williams, Naná Vasconcelos and Mike Mainieri), that remains unissued except for a couple of tracks I was authorized to use in compilations I produced for Verve such as "A Trip To Brazil Vol.2: Bossa & Beyond."
(Palma during the recording sessions of the "Gilberto with Turrentine" album, 1971, photo by Price Givens)
(Joao Palma's name appears in the front cover of "The Sugar Man," an out-takes collection)
Palma's discography also includes a never released 1977 session with Joyce (arranged & produced by Ogerman, featuring Michael Brecker, Joe Farrell, Warren Bernhardt, Buster Williams, Naná Vasconcelos and Mike Mainieri), that remains unissued except for a couple of tracks I was authorized to use in compilations I produced for Verve such as "A Trip To Brazil Vol.2: Bossa & Beyond." On "A Trip To Brazil Vol.3: Back To Bossa," appears a version of "Ligia" peformed by Palma with Ithamara Koorax that I was fortunate to produce.
Not to mention dozens of albums, including sessions with Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass, on which none of the musicians were credited. Even on the famous Jobim's "Tide," his name didn't appear on the original vinyl release, despite the fact that he has played magnificently on the whole album. So I felt good when I was able in 2000 to supervise the first digipak CD issue of "Tide" for the U.S. market and gave credit not only to Palma but also to all the other musicians omitted on the LP release.
More samples of Palma's artistry can be found on compilations by such Maestros as Claus Ogerman (the 4-CD box set "The Man Behind The Music") and Eumir Deodato ("The Best of Deodato In The CTI Years.")
During occasional trips to Brazil, to visit his family in Rio, Palma did sessions with Egberto Gismonti ("Água e Vinho" in 1972), Luiz Henrique ("Mestiço" in 1976), Michael Franks (tracks for "Sleeping Gypsy" in 1977), and even Paulo Autran ("Melhores Momentos" in 1979), as well as gigged with João Donato.
During 1977 and 1978, his fame allowed him to act as a leader of his own band, The Joao Palma Sextet, that played all Thursday nights at the Stryker's jazz club, located at 103 West 68th Street in NY. The same place where the David Matthews' Big Band played on Mondays. Jazz critics like Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler were always in the audience.
       (José Roberto Bertrami & João Palma, 1986, photo by Terri Hinte)

After his definitive return to Brazil in 1980, everything changed. He lived for some time in Brasilia, where he had a new marriage and a new kid (rock drummer Tiago Palma, that made him very proud), but returned to Rio to record with Dori Caymmi. He lost interest in the recording industry, I mean, in the recording business, and vice versa. Palma recorded very sporadically with people like Nana Caymmi ("Mudança dos Ventos"), Azymuth's founder José Roberto Bertrami ("Dreams Are Real") and as special guest of the Fogueira Tres group (curiously, he later acted as a "manager" for that trio during an U.S. tour in the late 80s.)
          (João Palma, first on the left, with the Fogueira Tres crew)

In 1996, he formed his own quartet (with Paulo Malaguti, Augusto Mattoso, Juarez Araujo and singer Ithamara Koorax), performing sold-out engagements at Vinicius nightclub in his native Rio de Janeiro, where the group was filmed for a TV broadcast on Japanese TV.
(José Roberto Bertrami, Ithamara Koorax, Palma, Sergio Barroso, during the sessons for the "Love Dance" album, 2002)
More gigs followed in some now-defunct venues such as Partitura and Ritmo jazz clubs as well as on the Sala Funarte (Funarte Hall) Theater, with different line-ups that included Carlos Malta, Ithamara Koorax, Haroldo Goldfarb, Gabriel Improta, Fernando Leporace. In 2003, his brother, Marcos Palma, an amateur percussionist, passed away in a car accident.

For the past 10 years, he only performed in rare occasions, always sharing the stage with Ithamara Koorax, with whom Palma did his last engagement, performing for six consecutive weekends at the Bottle's Bar from December 2015 to January 2016.
(Ithamara Koorax & João Palma, January 2016 @ Beco das Garrafas, photo by Bernardo Costa)

I had the honor to have him as a friend for 37 years, since I attended a gig he was doing with pianist Joao Donato and bassist Ricardo Santos at the Cirrose nightclub (owned by Vinicius de Moraes) in Rio, as well as to produce the recording sessions he did for albums by Ithamara Koorax ("Love Dance" aka "Someday", "All Around The World", "Ithamara Koorax Sings Getz/Gilberto"), Jorge Pescara ("Grooves In The Temple") and his final date, Rodrigo Lima's "Saga," recorded in 2014. Many more could have happened, but some musicians simply couldn't handle Palma's "temper."
(colockwise: Jorge Helder, José Roberto Bertrami, Arnaldo DeSouteiro, João Palma during a recording session for the "Marcos Valle Songbook" in 1999)
(João Palma & Rodrigo Lima during the recording sessions for the "Saga" album, 2014)
(Fabio Fonseca, João Palma, Ithamara Koorax, Arnaldo DeSouteiro, 2008, photo by Marcia Ferraz)

From 1987 to 2000, when I lived in the Barra da Tijuca area, in Rio, Palma used to visit me very often, and became an essential part of the musical parties I used to organize. We met for the last time on December 25, 2015, and talked for hours; as usual... He is survived by three sons (Francisco, Gabriel and drummer Tiago Palma), one sister (Anna Beatriz) and one brother (Flavio). Another brother, Marcos Palma, deceased in 2003. Rest in Power, Rest in Bossa.
*********
João Palma: o adeus à batida da bossa perfeita

Dia de extrema tristeza para mim, por múltiplos motivos contidos em um só: morreu João Palma. Morreu meu amigo, com quem convivi por 37 anos apesar do temperamento difícil, explosivo, de pavio curtíssimo, um sujeito tão "marrento" que julguei imortal. Morreu meu grande ídolo da bateria, com quem tive a honra de trabalhar em shows e gravações. Morreu, com ele, o que restava de um Brasil sutil, sofisticado, cosmopolita. O mesmo Brasil que Tom Jobim, João Gilberto e Luiz Bonfá também sonharam.

Nosso país deu ao mundo alguns dos maiores bateristas da história da música: Palma, Dom Um Romão, Edison Machado, Milton Banana, Airto Moreira, Helcio Milito e o único de uma geração posterior que estudou profundamente, absorveu e melhor desenvolveu, ampliou e reciclou - na linhagem da bossa, do jazz e do híbrido sambajazz - o legado desses mestres, Zé Eduardo Nazário.

[Claro que temos muitos outros excelentes bateras: Ivan Conti, Cesar Machado, Robertinho Silva, Nenê, Wilson das Neves, Portinho, Rubens Barsotti, Carlos Bala, Pascoal Meirelles, Duduka da Fonseca, Rafael Barata, o extraordinário Mauricio Zottarelli, além dos saudosos Paulinho Magalhães, Juquinha, Jadir de Castro, Plinio Araujo, Ohana, Luciano Perrone etc etc. Mas pertencem a outras correntes, trafegam ou trafegaram em outras vias, alguns mais para o samba, outros para o fusion, funk ou avant-garde. Duduka, Portinho e Zottarelli, radicados nos EUA, também procuram, cada qual à sua maneira, preservar a estética de Palma, Machado & cia.]

Cresci ouvindo todos eles em discos e ao vivo. Conheci pessoalmente todos eles. Milito e Banana frequentavam minha casa. Airto também, porque foi meu concunhado. Machado, conheci nas jams na casa de José Roberto Bertrami e assisti a seu emocionante último show (realizado no Vinicius Bar e não no People, ao contrário do que dizem os pesquisadores preguiçosos). Trabalhei muito com Dom Um (produzi seus últimos três discos), gênio não só da bateria mas também da percussão, além de ser humano maravilhoso, de quem tenho infinita saudade.

Mas João Palma sempre foi meu predileto. Questão de gosto pessoal mesmo. Talvez por ser, na minha humilde opinião, repito, o mais "esteticamente refinado" de todos (Airto e Dom Um seriam os mais "completos" pela soma de bateria + percussão), de uma elegância musical absurda, capaz de ir da mais sofisticada sutileza (que me fascinou, inicialmente, através dos LPs com Tom Jobim) ao galope incendiário igualmente presente, em doses certeiras, nos mesmos discos de Tom. Sempre perfeito, sempre de ataque fatal. Sabia tocar com "força" quando necessário, a sua "pegada" tinha impacto, a caixada era precisa, a pratada era mortal, mas nunca/jamais soou "pesado".

A obra-prima "Stone Flower" ilustra isso perfeitamente: Palma vai do requinte minimalista de "Tereza, My Love" (era o único baterista que os maestros e produtores permitiam que iniciasse uma música dando uma "bumbada"!) ao vigor flamejante da faixa-título e de "God and The Devil In The Land of The Sun", empregado também em "The Mantiqueira Range" (do álbum "Matita Perê"), onde as chicotadas no prato de condução soam como tiros de caçadores numa floresta, raios riscando o céu. Passa ainda pela condução jazzisticamente valseada de "Children's Games" (Chovendo Na Roseira), pela batida da bossa perfeita em "Sabiá" ("consegui tirar o chororô daquela música", dizia), pela execução econômica, quase minimalista, em "Andorinha", e pelo show de vassourinha na swingueira insuperável do samba "Brazil" (Aquarela do Brasil), talvez a faixa que mais ouvi em toda a minha vida, desde que comprei o primeiro exemplar de "Stone Flower" quando tinha 10 anos de idade.

[Outra gravação extraordinária com Tom é a faixa "Ligia", do disco "Urubu". Considero a atuação de Palma, captada com impressionante qualidade de som pelo engenheiro Frank Laico, a melhor performance de vassourinha em todos os tempos. Mixada "na cara", com um som cheio, redondo, que deveria servir de aula para jovens músicos e engenheiros acostumados ao som chapado do ProTools. Aliás, sempre que gravei com Palma, ele pedia dois microfones na caixa: um na parte superior, como se usa normalmente, e outro embaixo da caixa, para captar toda a "fritura" da esteira. Outra característica sua, quando gravava bossa ou samba, era o uso de um cowbell acoplado à bateria, recurso muito utilizado nos dois excelentes discos com Walter Wanderley.]

Graças aos insondáveis mistérios do universo, do "tudão" (termo utilizado por outro João genial, o Gilberto), eu sempre vivi tão apaixonado por "Stone Flower" que acabei produzindo e/ou supervisionando e/ou escrevendo textos de encarte para diversas reedições em CD; inclusive a primeira no mercado americano. Quiseram os deuses que eu achasse as fitas originais de multi-track que estavam "perdidas" (sem identificação) no acervo da Sony/Epic, onde o acervo do selo CTI tinha ido parar por questões judiciais.

Fato que nos permitiu a ousadia de remixar o disco, me levando a descobrir que algumas faixas haviam sido encurtadas pelo engenheiro de som Rudy Van Gelder para não comprometerem a qualidade da prensagem, devido às limitações de tempo do vinil (o produtor Creed Taylor raramente deixava um "lado" ultrapassar 17 minutos). Assim me foi possível encerrar aquela maravilhosa "Aquarela" não aos 7m19s do LP, ceifando o balé do solo de Palma, mas aos 9m40s, alongando a faixa ao máximo e trazendo à tona, pela primeira vez, o improviso completo da bateria.

Conversando com Palma, descobri também que aquele havia sido um "take" de ensaio, bem à vontade, improvisado no estúdio por Jobim, Eumir Deodato (ambos tocando Fender Rhodes), Ron Carter no baixo, Palma na bateria, Airto (triângulo + surdo no final da faixa) e Everaldo Ferreira (caixinha de fósforo) na percussão. Mais intimista e espontâneo, impossível. Inicialmente, Creed Taylor não gostou muito. Achou a faixa longa demais. Pediu que um novo "take" fosse feito no dia seguinte, mais curto, mais compacto. Palma trocou as vassouras pelas baquetas. Deodato adicionou um arranjo para flautas e seção de cordas. Mas, na hora da mixagem, Creed mudou de idéia, optando pelo "take" original, sem cordas. O outro, que era pra ser o "oficial", foi arquivado e esquecido por todos. Menos por Palma. E por mim, que lembrei da história e não sosseguei até encontra-lo e inclui-lo no CD como bonus-track.

Por essas e outras, minhas conversas com Palma duravam horas. Era cultíssimo! Adorado por Van Gelder, Claus Ogerman e Don Sebesky, a quem fui por ele apresentado. Quando me dava a honra de sua presença nas reuniões musicais que eu organizava, a "sessão" acabava girando em torno das gravações dele. Certa vez, num encontro ao qual estava presente Anna Carolina Albernaz, deixou a artista plástica encantada ao narrar, em detalhes, a concepção de cada faixa que eu ia mostrando de seus discos com Paul Desmond, Astrud Gilberto, Michael Franks e tantos outros, durante o "terceiro set" de uma festa na qual estavam presentes também João Donato, Lisa Ono, Sergio Barroso e José Boto.

Em outra ocasião, me telefonou às 16hs perguntando se a festa estava confirmada para às 21hs. Eu respondi que sim, e ele emendou: "OK, então estou saindo agora". Naquela época, 1998, eu morava na Barra da Tijuca; ele, na Lagoa, perto do Corte de Cantagalo. Travou-se então o seguinte diálogo:
- Palma, você entendeu errado. A reunião só começa às 21hs.
- Eu sei, mas você acha que eu vou de táxi? Eu vou a pé, quero me exercitar!

E assim fez como bom andarilho, caminhando por dentro dos túneis, atravessando vias perigosíssimas, e chegando pontualmente às 21hs, para espanto dos demais convivas. Nas mãos, um saquinho com chá de maçã, que eu sempre prazeirosamente preparava, porque ele já não mais tomava bebida alcoólica.

Nos vimos pela última vez em 25 de Dezembro de 2015, quando fui passar o Natal no Rio. Ele estava tocando no revitalizado Bottle's Bar, no Beco das Garrafas, onde tinha iniciado a carreira tocando em trio com Johnny Alf (piano) e Tião Neto (baixo). Senti que se fechava um ciclo. Foi o fim do roteiro trágico do herói.
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Abaixo, um dos muitos artigos que escrevi sobre Palma para o jornal Tribuna da Imprensa.
http://jazzstation-oblogdearnaldodesouteiros.blogspot.com.br/2007/05/bossa-atemporal-de-joo-palma-no.html

A bossa atemporal de João Palma no Partitura
Arnaldo DeSouteiro
Artigo escrito por Arnaldo DeSouteiro e publicado originalmente no jornal "Tribuna da Imprensa" em 2003

Segundo um dos mais conceituados críticos de jazz da atualidade, Alex Henderson, do All Music Guide, “a importância de João Palma no mundo da bateria é igual a de Max Roach e John Bonham”. Dennis Seiwell – batera do grupo Wings, de Paul McCartney – sempre cita Palma como seu baterista favorito. Agora, depois da temporada de sucesso, em 2001, na Sala Funarte, Palma volta a matar a saudade dos fãs brasileiros com três imperdíveis shows, hoje, amanhã e domingo, as 21:30hs, no Partitura (Av. Epitáceo Pessoa 5030, Lagoa). Ao seu lado, amigos fiéis como o pianista Haroldo Goldfarb, o baixista Fernando Leporace e a cantora Ithamara Koorax. “É sempre um prazer tocar no Rio, e uma grande alegria tocar com músicos tão bons”, afirma João. “E a Ithamara eu faço questão de ter sempre como minha convidada especial, porque, além de uma intérprete extraordinária, ela dá um charme extra ao show.”

Aclamado como um dos maiores bateristas na história da música brasileira – e, certamente, o mais sutil e requintado dentre todos os bateras consagrados na época da bossa nova -, o carioca João Palma deixou sua marca estampada em vários sucessos interplanetários de Tom Jobim (“Águas de Março”, “Ligia”, “Stone flower”) e Sergio Mendes (“Mas que nada”, “Going out of my head”, The look of love”). “Vamos relembrar todas essas músicas no show, tenho orgulho do meu passado”, declara. “Toquei com o Tom por quase dez anos, fizemos seis discos juntos, inclusive o segundo álbum dele com o Sinatra. Antes eu tinha tocado por quatro anos com o Sergio, na época áurea do Brasil 66”. Também estará no repertório a canção "Absolutely", música inédita de Tom Jobim gravada por Ithamara Koorax para a trilha sonora da novela "Celebridade".

Entre os artistas americanos que serão homenageados, Palma destaca os saxofonistas Paul Desmond e Stanley Turrentine, já falecidos. “Desmond tinha uma sonoridade aveludada de sax-alto que nunca ninguém conseguiu imitar. Toquei no último disco dele para a A&M, ao lado do Herbie Hancock no piano, do Ron Carter no baixo, e do Airto Moreira na percussão, com orquestrações maravilhosas do meu amigo Don Sebesky. É um disco só com arranjos jazzísticos para temas do Paul Simon, que já saiu em CD. Chama-se “Bridge over troubled water”. Com o Turrentine, que tinha um som forte e redondo no sax-tenor, eu inclusive excursionei várias vezes. Gravei no disco dele em dupla com a Astrud Gilberto, produzido pelo Creed Taylor para a CTI Records”.

Nascido em 1941, revelado no Beco das Garrafas em fins dos anos 50, Palma foi o baterista original do grupo Copa Trio, com Manuel Gusmão no baixo e Toninho Oliveira no piano. “Quando fui chamado para o Serviço Militar, o Dom Um Romão me substituiu”, revela. “Na volta, entrei no grupo do Eumir, que tocava na TV Rio, e aquele conjunto depois virou o quinteto do Menescal. Fizemos dois discos na Elenco, do Aloysio de Oliveira, e um no selo Imperial, além de LPs com Maysa, Sylvia Telles e Lucio Alves”. Atendendo ao convite de Sergio Mendes, embarcou para os Estados Unidos em 65. “Cheguei logo para gravar o disco The great arrival, com arranjos de Clare Fischer e outros feras que eu idolatrava. Com a orquestra toda no estúdio, como se fosse um show ao vivo. Fiquei um pouco intimidado, tanto que minha execução é bastante contida naquele álbum”.

Pouco depois, já no célebre Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66, ajudou a emplacar o maior sucesso na carreira do pianista, “Mas que nada”, seguido por dois outros LPs (“Equinox” e “Look Around”) geradores de longas excursões pelos quatro cantos do planeta. Mudando-se da Califórnia para Nova Iorque, Palma gravou todas as faixas de “Courage”, disco de estréia de Milton Nascimento no exterior (“tem as melhores músicas dele, como “Travessia”, “Morro velho”, “Canção do sal”, ele nunca mais fez um disco tão bom...”) e entrou para a banda de Walter Wanderley, atuando nos LPs “When it was done” e “Moondreams”. No meio de uma turnê pelo México, recebeu a notícia de que um jatinho estava à sua espera para leva-lo a Los Angeles. Era um chamado de Frank Sinatra, que o convidava para a gravação do álbum “Sinatra & Company”, com músicas e violão de Tom Jobim, Ray Brown no baixo, e arranjos de Eumir Deodato.

A partir dali (junho de 69), tornou-se o baterista predileto de Tom, com quem trabalhou até 76 em discos como “Tide”, “Stone flower”, “Matita perê” e “Urubu”. Nos anos 70 e 80, continuou ativo nos estúdios de LA e NY, gravando com Robin Kenyatta, George Russell, Astrud Gilberto, Joyce e até Michael Franks, no cultuado “Sleeping gypsy”, ao lado de Claus Ogerman, David Sanborn, João Donato e Michael Brecker. Nas férias, sempre vinha ao Brasil, aproveitando para deixar sua marca em álbuns memoráveis como “Água e vinho” (Egberto Gismonti), “Mudança dos ventos” (Nana Caymmi), “Dreams are real” (José Roberto Bertrami), e “Dori Caymmi” (“um LP de 1980 para a EMI que tinha “A porta” e uma regravação de “Saveiros” que ficou genial”).

Na última década, reduziu bastante o ritmo de trabalho. “Passei a tocar apenas por prazer”, garante. “Com 40 anos de carreira, não tenho mais nada a provar, de formas que só aceito participar de projetos que sejam enriquecedores para mim. Não aguento mais ego-trip de músico inseguro, quero é me divertir no palco, quero que a platéia viaje junto comigo.” Os vários shows com Ithamara Koorax desde 1996, sempre com casa cheia, foram algumas dessas ocasiões, assim como a gravações de algumas faixas para o novo CD da cantora, “Love dance”. E também como prometem ser os shows no Partitura “Vamos arrasar!”, declara.
Fotos em preto & branco de Celso Brando, que antes de se tornar renomado fotógrafo foi guitarrista do grupo de Tenório Jr. e tocou muito com João Palma, com quem gravou no disco "Bossa Nova" (Imperial, 1962) de Roberto Menescal.