Sunday, September 17, 2017

R.I.P.: Laudir de Oliveira (1940-2017)

(born Laudir Soares de Oliveira on January 6, 1940 in Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil;
died on September 17, 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil)

Brazilian percussionist and composer Laudir De Oliveira, who was a member of the Chicago band as well as of Sergio Mendes & Brasil 77, just passed away. He was my friend exactly for 40 years, since 1977, and I had the big honor to work with him several times in concerts (with Ithamara Koorax and, most recently, Rodrigo Lima) as well as on albums I produced for Dom Um Romao ("Rhythm Traveller"), Ithamara Koorax ("Serenade In Blue," "Exclusively For My Friends," "Brazilian Butterfly / Tributo À Stellinha Egg," "All Around The World," "IK Sings Getz/Gilberto," and the EP "Ithamara Koorax & Friends"), Jorge Pescara (Grooves In The Temple and a forthcoming set), Rodrigo Lima (Saga) etc.

One track he recorded with Pescara - Deodato's "Black Widow" - was included on the JSR All-Stars album "Friends From Brazil 2001" (released in the USA as Brazil All-Stars' "Rio Strut").

Laudir also recorded with Joe Cocker (the big hit "Feelin' Alright" from the album With A Little Help From My Friends), Chick Corea (the fantastic albums Touchstone and Tap Step), Herb Alpert, Paul Winter, Earl Klugh, Michael Jackson and The Jacksons, Sadao Watanabe, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, Gilberto Gil, Milton Nascimento, Paul Anka, Hermeto Pascoal, Toninho Horta, Dori Caymmi, José Roberto Bertrami, Maria Bethania, Gal Costa, Gerry Mulligan, Pelé and countless others.

As a composer, Laudir co-wrote many songs with Marcos Valle that were recorded by Chicago, Leon Ware and Valle himself. He recently collaborated on recordings with DJ Nu-Mark.

His first recording session in the U.S. was in 1969, on Joe Cocker's album "With A Little Help From My Friends." He later joined Sérgio Mendes & Brasil '77 in 1972, appearing on such albums as "Primal Roots" (on which he is the lead singer on all those fascinating Macumba chants like "Cabloco Ubiratan"), "Love Music" and "Sergio Menes & The New Brasil 77."

Laudir later joined the pop supergroup Chicago, being featured on such huge hits as "Happy Man" and "If You Leave Me Now."

He kept very active in the busy L.A. studio scene of the '70s, recording with Chick Corea, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, The Jacksons and many others.

After having returned to his native Brazil in the late 80s, he often performed and recorded with Marcos Valle (with whom he co-wrote many songs covered by Leon Ware), Ithamara Koorax and José Roberto Bertrami. In 2014, he joined Rodrigo Lima's SAGA band.

We have met for the last time in July 2017, when I interviewed him for a documentary movie, to which he also played some of those amazing Macumba chants.
(Laudir de Oliveira, Arnaldo DeSouteiro & Jorge Pescara, 2004)
(Laudir de Oliveira & Arnaldo DeSouteiro, 2014)
(Arnaldo DeSouteiro & Laudir de Oliveira, July 2017)
(Jadir de Castro, Dom Um Romão, Gegê, Maria Fattoruso, Laudir de Oliveira and Arnaldo DeSouteiro, 1997)
(Laudir de Oliveira, Ithamara Koorax & Arnaldo DeSouteiro, in my house, 2000)
(Laudir de Oliveira, Anna Carolina Albernaz & Carlos Pontual, in my house, 2000)
(Ithamara Koorax taking a picture of Laudir de Oliveira during the recording sessions for Koorax's "Brazilian Butterfly" album, released in 2005)
(Laudir de Oliveira & Ithamara Koorax during the recording sessions for the "Brazilian Butterfly" album, 2005)
(Laudir de Oliveira & Jorge Pescara during the recording sessions for the "Friends From Brazil 2001" (aka "Rio Strut") project
(Laudir de Oliveira & Dom Um Romão during recording sessions)
All photos by Arnaldo DeSouteiro and cannot be reproduced without permission
Perder um amigo é sempre complicado. Perder um grande amigo que é um dos seus ídolos desde a adolescência, um músico excepcional e um ser humano da mais alta qualidade, extremamente generoso e amigo há "apenas" 40 anos, é muito mais complicado. Os Deuses e Orixás concederam a Laudir a "melhor" morte possível. No palco, tocando, fulminante. Sem dor, sem sofrimento, sem hospital. Segue no som e na paz. Respeito eterno.

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