Osmar Milito E Quarteto Forma - "America Latina" (2:46)
Review: A tale of two sides, Azimuth's classic "Manha" should be recognisable to many; taken from their self-titled LP in 1975, its golden harmonies and lavish, lolloping Bob James style jazz are as timeless as they were 40 years ago. Flip for "America Latina". Conjured by prolific collaborator Osmar Milito (whose discography features the likes of Sammy Davis Jr, Spanky Wilson and Liza Minelli), its striking, sing-along charms are no accident... It was actually created for 70s Brazilian soap opera Selva De Pedra.
Review: For the latest release on their on-point Brasil 45s sub-label, Mr Bongo takes a trip back to 1977, and the early days of legendary fusion outfit Banda Black Rio. Both the cuts here are taken from the band's brilliant debut album, Maria Fumaca, and see them fusing Brasilian samba and jazz sounds with the righteous, dancefloor-friendly grooves of funk and disco. "Maria Fumaca" itself is a deliciously sunny and sweaty affair, with punchy horns, eyes-closed guitar solos and jazz-funk electic piano lines rising above a carnival-ready samba-funk groove. The U.S funk influence comes to the fore more on flipside "Mr Funky Samba", which sounds like Azymuth jamming with members of the T.K Disco, Philadelphia International and Salsoul house bands. Yep, it's that good.
Miele - "Melo Do Tagarela (Rapper's Delight)" (instrumental) (4:10)
Review: Although Brazil's Banda Black Rio remain infamous for the albums that they recorded in the late 1970s, two beautiful LPs that rode that singular wave of samba-ridden jazz dance, 1980's "Miss Cheryl" is an outstanding tune, and we can hear why RCA picked it up back in the day. Mr Bongo provides us with the reissue here and, if you haven't heard it, it's an absolute delight which switches between disco, psych, and something inherently Brazilian - there's even a wacky synth in there, for good measure. Compatriot Miele appears on the flip with "Melo Do Tagarela (Rappers Delight)", a sublime slice of early, electronic boogie that sounds as fresh today as it did back at the tail end of the 70s. A devious little reissue that you should own...
Review: As famous as "Carolina Carol Bela" is, and as famous as both Jorge Ben and Toquinho are, madly this is the first time this track has ever appeared on a 45! Famously contemporised by D&B artist DJ Marky, its dreamy ebb and flows remain a timeless lesson in the most beautiful Brazilian music. As you'd expect from a super-limited Mr Bongo 7", it's coupled by an equally stunning slice of Latin folk. "Ara" is the creation of one of bossa nova's most decorated ambassadors. Driven by rhythmic staccato vocals, strident jazz-tinged pianos and layers of tangible instrumentation, it's been warming hearts since 1973. Gorgeous.
Review: Mr Bongos hit paydirt once again with their Brazil 45s series, with this 11th seven featuring a pair of Latin gems from Joao Bosco and Antonio Adolfo E A Brazuca that have never been pressed on 7" before. In original form, "O Ronco Da Cuica" was a certified highlight of the prolific Bosco's 1976 LP Galos de Briga, the supple bossanova groove truly blessed by some excellent vocal harmonies when the chorus hits. Those sample freaks in search of a killer break will however gravitate to the B Side jazz fusion bomb "Transamonica" from Antonio Adolfo E A Brazuca as it's packed full of them!
Review: More Brazilian brilliance from the Mr Bongo crew! Never released on 45 before, both tracks tell contrasting sides of Rio's rich story... "Imprevisto" is a dynamic piece of timeless jazz with splashing cymbals and scattershot pianos that gradually build into a dramatic groove that's held together with a lolloping double bass. "Skim Dum Dum Dum", meanwhile, showcases the city's funkiest roots. Big horns, undulating bass and Ana's rhythmic vocals create a universal disco experience that's peppered with Latin heat.
Review: Mr Bongo plunders the Brazilian vaults for more long-forgotten Latin classics. Besides the fact that she was pretty prolific (12 albums between 1960 and 1983) Mr Bongo don't know much about Ely... Her music tells us volumes, however. Minimal, jaunty and wholly vocal-focussed, there's a great sense of mischief about "Taieiras" as the band and singers develop momentum. Even less is known about Trio Esperenca besides the fact they're sisters. Solid vocal soul, backed with lush, rich harmonies and a catchy Motown finish, it's the type of track you feel you've known forever.
Review: Brazil 45s hit the quarter century in their run and show no sign of stopping. It's an all-girl affair on this one as two hugely popular and prolific singers take a spin under Mr Bongo's spotlight. Elizabeth (often known as Elizete) lays down a steamy samba flavour that gets raunchier as the track develops. Elza, meanwhile, gets busy on a Bossa tip as a carnival of percussion and horns go toe-to-toe with her sharp, sexy staccato vocals. Powerful.
Review: Moving further into the '70s Brazilian scene, Mr Bongo delivers two supreme pop scorchers by Celia, the sweet-faced artiste who released so much great music back in the day. Her "Na Boca Do Sol" is a gentle soul journey that brings out the best in her own voice, and in the Brazilian style of that era. "A Hora E Essa" is more of a dancefloor tune, more uptempo and less reliant on the sensuality and sexiness of the A-side. Excellent, as per usual.
Review: Supreme musica popular Brasileira and bossa-nova vibes here on two tracks from Mr Bongo's leading Brazilian 45's lady, Claudia. "Deixa o Morro Cantar" features on Claudia's very first 7", released in 1965 by RGE Brazil. Her version of "Mas Que Nada" is said to be more of a jazzy/folk-funk take on the Ben classic. A relatively recent discovery made during the label's last trip to Brazil, Maria das Gracas Rallo was born in 1946 in Rio de Janeiro. She has become the most awarded singer outside of her home country and was most popular internationally in 1982 with the song "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from the musical Evita. Moreover, she has recorded over twenty albums and has amassed huge record sales throughout her successful career.
Review: Jane, Roberto, and Sidey Morais - Brazil's Os Tres Morais - are placed alongside the wonderful Claudia for the latest all Brazilian showdown courtesy of the always point-side Brazil45 series from the Mr. Bongo label. The latter gives us the mythical "Garra", a tune that sits very nicely next to the likes of Marcos Valle and co, and the singing trio get a reissue of 2006's "Freio Aerodinamico", a gorgeous blend of samba, disco, and something perfectly exotic and vintage. Heart-warmers.
Review: The Brazil 45s / Mr Bongo outlet is back with its classic moves, coming through with some truly special soul blends out of the Brazilian golden era. Dalila and Neyde Alexandre feature in this latest 7", the former with 1968's "Canto Chorado", a slow-burning bubble of funky exotica - surely impossible to find in its original shade - and the latter with a funky little bomb from 1971 by the name of "Perplexidade" - surely the smoothest, sexiest soul number out this week! Lovely stuff.
Review: Wilson das Neves was is a legendary Brazilian percussionist most well known for being part of Os Ipanemas.
His cover of Average White Band's 'Pick Up The Pieces' recorded with his 'conjunto' ensemble, takes the track into funky samba territory, laden with percussion and horns.
Originally released on his 'Wilson Das Neves E Conjunto - O Som Quente E O Das Neves LP in 1976. Previously unreleased on 7".
Som Tres - Tanga
A Mr Bongo all-time Brazilian Funk favourite. Tearing drums, vocals and piano packed into just over 2 minutes. Killer.
Som Tres were a trio formed by prolific pianist, arranger and producer Cesar Camargo Mariano. Originally appeared on the 'Um E Pouco, Dois E Bom, Este Som Tres E Demais' LP on Odeon Brazil in 1971. Previously unreleased on 7".
Review: Two outstanding Brazilian funk cuts straight out of 1971: "Esperar Pra Ver" is a laden with an immense orchestrated groove that's triggered by a lean, unforgettable bass guitar riff that matches Evinha's purring, slinky allure. "Que Bandeira" rolls with more of a poppy bossa flow with militant rim shots, swooning strings and a momentum that builds on every verse. Both tracks are taken from Cartao Postal, Evinha's third album that has been known to pass hands for as much as L500 in the past.
Review: Picking up where release 25 left us, Mr Bongo's Brazil 45s series continues to focus on the females for this beautiful double-up. Georgette's "Kirie" is an overwhelming ballad that grows so naturally and subtly from her naked tones and guitar to a much broader picture with rich, warm backing harmonies and soft strings in the background. Claudia's "Com Mais De 30", meanwhile, was way ahead of its time (1971). With its fuzzy guitars, walloping groove and bold dynamic switches, it's no surprise that Fourtet and Floating Points have championed this pretty hard over the years.
Review: One of the many musical golden moments Joyce has given us during her 20 album/40 year career, "Aldeia de Ogum" is a full-bodied samba smash that enjoyed a renaissance during London's acid jazz era in the late 80s. Meanwhile on the flip Roshina lays down an incredible version of Fitzgerald's "Summertime". Spider like nylon string finger business, softly backed by emotion-drenched strings, it's one of the best cover versions Mr Bongo have ever given us.
Review: Time for some Brazilian psychedelic boogie straight from 78. Erstwhile lead singer in Os Mutantes, with a personality thrice as big as the soaking wet bassline on "Agora E Moda", Rita Lee is no stranger to her motherland - even now. Flip for a huge soul injection courtesy of Pete Dunaway. Sounding English in every direction (from his name to his lyrics to the stunning, string-coated arrangement) he's actually Sao Paulo born and is a renowned multi-instrumentalist. Check this and you can tell in an instant. Stunning.
Review: Mr Bongo's deeply dug Brazil 45s series continues with serious merit: Originally released in 1974 on Tapecar, Marcio Lott's lavish, laidback sunset samba "Tema De Baby" suffered a limited run before being anointed into the rarest of Brazilian funk categories. This is its first release in over 40 years. It's backed by the heavier, jazz-focused "A Festa" by Silvio Cesar. Coated with a cacophony of party sounds and faraway harmonies, it's one of those records that leaves you feeling like you're in the centre of the party wherever and whenever you hear it.
Review: Brazil45 are on what you call a 'roll' at the minute, and they've started dropping the bombs nice and early into the New Year. This latest double-header features the talents of the obscure Brazilian singer Joao Luiz - out on independent presses back in the early '70s, and impossible to grip in original formats - and his ultra-funky and hazy "Super Muhler", followed by the one and only Toni Tornado, who features here with the excellent, laid-back, and sexy jam that is "Podes Crer, Amizade". A pair of gems, served on a 7" platter, just how we like them.
Review: Myriam Makeba or Mama Afrika as many would refer to her, was a South African singer regarded as being the first and most important woman in traditional South African music. She led a rich and fulfilling life across the globe, singing with artists like The Skylarks, living in London, and finally retiring in Castel Volturno, near Naples in Italy. Bongo 45 reissues her wild and much sought-after 'Xica Da Silva", a tropical soul ballad that sways from left to right with upmost glare and style. On the flip, we have Brazilian Jorge Ben with his own version of the tune, one that still contains Makeba's chorus at its core but guided by the man's South American charm around the edges. One of the best Bongo 45's in a good while. Hot!
Review: The latest volume in Mr Bongo's brilliant Brazil 45 series offers up a pair of MPB gems that have previously never featured on seven-inch before. Side A is all about Marcia Maria's 1978 cut "Amigo Branco", a disco-era interpretation of Djalma Dias' 1974 track "Nada Sei De Preconceito". Maria's cover is jaunty, colourful and ear-catching, pushing jaunty organs, sharp horns and spacey synth lines towards the ear alongside her passionate, full-throated lead vocal. Over on side B you'll find "Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser", an overlooked gem plucked from MPB artist Simone's self-titled 1973 debut LP. More rooted in samba, it's a lilting, string-laden chunk of emotional sweetness.
Review: Two powerful bossa nova workouts from 1972: Brazilian chanteuse Rose Maria delivered two incredible funk jams on Tapecar which escaped her prolific album releases and never enjoyed a repress. Until now... The Afro-Latin soul of "Deixa Nao Deixa" is all about the sudden dynamic from purring verses to emphatic, harmonic chorus while "Avenida Atlantica" takes a more straight-up funk route with its dominant horns and heavy boss break. Instant party material.
Doris Monteiro - "Se Voce Quiser Mas Sem Bronquear" (3:00)
Quarteto Em Cy - "Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser" (2:45)
Review: Mr Bongo's Brazilian 45 series hits it's ninth gear with two region-defining slices of sun-kissed samba soul. Doris takes the lead with delicate frontage. Leading from the front, all instruments follow her cues and mirror each vocal flourish with mild big band cheekiness. The instantly distinctive "Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser" from sister quartet Quarteto Em Cy is a great twist on a Latin classic with its slightly rocky guitars and full bodied harmonies. Previously released in 1972, a return has been long overdue.
Review: After delivering some killer reissues over the last few years, Mr Bongo's brilliant Brazil 45s series has reached "buy on sight" status. It goes without saying that the label's latest double-header of hard-to-find Brazilian gems is white hot. A-side Neno Exporta Som's impossible-to-find 1971 gem "Deixa A Tristeza", a wild and life-affirming fusion of samba and funk full of fuzzy sax solos, glassy-eyed vocals and heavyweight grooves. Over on the flip you'll find another killer cut from '71: "Sumauma" by MPB star Agnaldo Rayol. Blessed with a great groove and incredible arrangement, it sounds like a Brazilian take on the sort of over-the-top songs used to open James Bond movies in the 1970s (albeit with a bit of samba sunshine thrown in).
Review: Mr Bongo hosts another deeply dug history lesson and we'd all be wise to attend. Here we find Jorge Ben's classic "Carolina Carol Bela" (which many may recognise in sample form from Marky's "LK") covered with psychedelic whimsy by the un-documented Rio band from the late 60s Os Brazoes. Meanwhile on the flip we're introduced to Tim Maia, a man who made his name with tongue-in-cheek off-beat twists on US funk during the late 70s. With its falsetto vocals and tight guitar and bass licks, there are great shades of disco and ESG-style post-funk fusion all wrapped up in a beautiful Brazilian bundle. Lesson over. Go to the top of the class.
Review: Samba flavours do not come more authentic than this. The sixth in Mr Bongo's Brazil 45 series, here they unearth two foundation pieces from Rio collective Os Origianais Do Samba. Forming in 60s Rio, they're still highly active today and have a discography peppered with Brazilian gold. This 45 does well to showcase their breadth... "La Vem Salgueiro" is quintessential samba. Heavy rhythm, punctuated vocals and a dynamic that leaps from bold and delicate in a flash, it charms you instantly. "Tenha Fe" has a softer soul as it strums and sways and more of a folky sensation, tight harmonies and alluring naked instrumentation.
Review: The 62nd single in Mr Bongo's long-running Brazil 45s series is notable for containing Jose Prates' "Nana Imboro", a deep, hypnotic and intoxicating samba cut that was initially recorded and released way back in 1958. Relatively slow and steady by samba standards, its chanted refrain is thought to be the inspiration for Jorge Ben's much better known "Mas Que Nada". Wisely, Mr Bongo has backed Prates' sublime original with a 1960 cover by obscure Polish outfit Wroblewski Jazz Quintet. This dispenses with the chanting, instead increasing the number of intertwined horn parts. Given that original copies of the rare Polish EP it first appeared on will set you back serious money, it's great to see this fine cover included here.