Saturday, October 13, 2007

R.I.P.: Paulo Autran

Brazil's greatest actor ever, Paulo Autran passed away in São Paulo, yesterday, October 12, 2006 at age 85. His jazz connection? Well, his jazz-lover friend Simon Khoury, who introduce Autran to the recordings of Billy May, Mancini, Legrand and countless others music giants.
My connection with Paulo Autran also happened through the celebrated writer, radio DJ (during the heyday of "Jornal do Brasil AM" in the early 70s) and musical producer Simon Khoury, one of Autran's closest friends.
Back in 1979, Khoury produced a Paulo Autran album, released on Top Tape's subsidiary label Aquarela. It's a haunting album of poetry, but not only limited to it, since Autran also performs excerpts from Shakespeare's "Julius Ceasar". Always very astute, Khoury invited such musicians as my dear friend João Palma (yes, the internationally acclaimed drummer who worked with Jobim, Sinatra, Sergio Mendes, Paul Desmond etc) and pianist/arranger Antonio Adolfo to the sessions. Adolfo added music to Casimiro de Abreu's "A Valsa" and Sergio Porto's "Divisão".
Durval Ferreira, then the A&R man at Top Tape, also took part in the proceedings, playing acoustic guitar and writing the background music to Vinicius de Moraes' "Poema Enjoadinho".
At the time of the album release, Miriam Rezende, Top Tape's publicity director at that time, invited me to prepare a press-release, since the excellent liner notes written by Khoury were too poetic, with many personal references. And the label needed to add a more biographical text to the press kit. So, in September 1979, Arnaldo DeSouteiro wrote his first press-release ever, later praised by Autran himself when we met at Khoury's home in Cosme Velho.
Curiously, the album, never reissued on CD yet, has 3 titles: "Paulo Autran - Melhores Momentos" (in the front cover), "Os Melhores Momentos de Paulo Autran" (in the back cover) and "Momentos de Paulo Autran" (on the label). Anyway, it's magical. We'll all miss you, Paulo!

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