Friday, October 24, 2008

CD of the Day - "Cal Tjader Plays The Contemporary Music of Mexico and Brazil"

CD of the Day
"Cal Tjader Plays The Contemporary Music of Mexico and Brazil" (Verve) 2008
One of Creed Taylor's early bossa trips, recorded in Hollywood, California, from March 5 to 7, 1962, before the events that made bossa nova the real "new wave" in the USA market; ie., before the BN Carnegie Hall Concert, before the explosion of Getz/Byrd's "Desafinado" (from "Jazz Samba") in the Billboard Pop Chart, and long before the legendary "Getz/Gilberto".
Tjader's light, cool-toned vibraphone is complemented by flautist Paul Horn and conguero Mongo Santamaria, among other sidemen, as well as by tasteful woodwind arrangements by Clare Fischer and special guest guitarist Laurindo Almeida. The result is groovy and light, a pleasing combination of south of the border tradition and dinner-jacket lounge music.
Tjader and Fischer share the solo spots, and it's difficult to say who is the real star of the album, since the project was conceived by Clare Fisher, who selected all the material while in love with the music of Mexican composer Mario Ruiz Armengol, including five of his songs. Among them "Que Tristeza", "Soñe", "Silenciosa", "Imagen" and "Preciosa", which feature the wordless vocals of songstress Ardeen deCamp (that sound very similar to Mary Mayo's spaced-out work on Dick Hyman's "Moon Gas", also produced by Creed Taylor).
The Brazilian part was inspired by two albums. Three songs were selected by Fisher from a LP he got from his friend Ralph Peña, the talented bass player who is the father of electric bass master John Peña. The album was Elizete Cardoso's "A Meiga Elizete" (released on the Copacabana album in 1960) and the songs chosen were "Vai Querer" (Hianto de Almeida/Fernando Lobo), "Não Diga Nada" (Carlito/Noacyr Mercenes) and "Tentação do Incoveniente", co-written by Augusto Mesquita and the famous guitarist Manoel da Conceição, aka Mão de Vaca. Clare Fischer became so impressed with Elizeth Cardoso (mispelled Elizete in the LP cover) that he composed a song for her, simply titled "Elizete", one of the album highlights.
Two other songs were selected from João Gilberto's second album, "O Amor, O Sorriso e a Flor" (Odeon, 1960): "Mediatção", by Antonio Carlos Jobim & Newton Mendonça (credited only as Ferreira de Mendonça), and "Se É Tarde Me Perdoa" by Carlos (Eduardo) Lyra & Ronaldo Boscoli. Brazilian guitar legend Laurindo Almeida, who appeared on the Brazilian songs from Tjader's album by courtesy of Capitol Records, also contributed with one interesting original tune, "Choro e Batuque". It's also worth to mention that Fischer's arrangements are quite similar to the scores he would write almost 40 years later to Joao Gilberto's "João" album, specially in what concerns the ingenious combination of flutes and bass clarinet on the woodwinds section.
This digipack reissue on Verve's "Originals" series reproduces the LP artwork, including Clare Fisher's original liner notes. Originally released on Verve LP V-8470 in 1962. Personnel: Cal Tjader (vibes); Clare Fischer (arranger, piano); Ardeen DeCamp (vocals); Gene Cipriano, Bernie Fleischer, Paul Horn, John Lowe, Don Shelton (flute, clarinet, bass clarinet); Laurindo Almeida (acoustic guitar); Freddie Schreiber (bass); Johnny Rae (drums, timbales); Changuito (congas); Milt Holland (percussion).

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