Friday, August 8, 2008
"Jazziz" May 1990
Excerpts from a story published in the May 1990 issue of "Jazziz" magazine (USA) by Mark Holston
An evening rain shower is pelting Copacabana as I slide into the back seat of jazz critic Arnaldo DeSouteiro's late-model Chevy for a visit to the popular jazz club "People" in neighboring Leblon. A cassette of one of singer Joao Gilberto's late-70s recordings supplies an appropriate mood as Arnaldo, his lovely attorney wife Carol, and I zip through the glistening, neon-accented streets. This is one of those nights when low clouds obscure all but the summits of Sugar Loaf and Corcovado, giving Rio a mystical air. No wonder they call the place "Cidade Maravilhosa" - the marvelous city.
Arnaldo writes about jazz and Brazilian music for the Rio daily, Tribuna da Imprensa. He's the kind of guy who will offer up stimulating arguments on just about anything in jazzdom, from the validity of pianist Bud Powell's early '50s trios to the woes that beset some of his country's best improvisational artists. He also has strong opinions about the kind of Brazilian music that is too often heard in the States.
"Some of the albums produced there may be very well done by great musicians," Arnaldo says, "but the sound is not the real Brazilian sound - it's just fusion made by Brazilians." The writer also notes that, despite a flood of recordings in the U.S. by more contemporary musicians, American perceptions of his country's music remains shaped by the bossa nova revolution of the mid-1960s. "I'm almost sure that when people hear the new stuff, they are a little disappointed," he comments. Not because it's not good, but because it's completely different from what they expect. And I don't see any of the recordings by the new artists going to the top of the charts, as it used to happen."
... "It's sad that Brazilians didn't listen to Nara (Leao) very much in the last years of her career," Arnaldo DeSouteiro laments. Carol, Arnaldo, and I are now in "People" catching a set by pianist Joao Donato's trio. The famous composer/arranger/guitarist Dori Caymmi, a table companion, also decries the fickle nature of his country's record producers, radio programmers, and public. We can only hope that, in the U.S., the current media interest in sounds from Brazil is more than just another fad.