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April 19, 2011


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I wonder what new stuff have you been listening to lately?

Victor Morton

On the subject of Brazil pop, has anyone else seen BEYOND IPANEMA, a documentary that I saw at the end if the 2010 DC Film Festival? Can't say *I* was impressed, but ...

Victor Morton

Actually here's what I wrote about BEYOND IPANEMA and which has been sitting in my Draft folder for a year:

BEYOND IPANEMA (Guto Barra, Brazil) — 3

Even stipulating that BEYOND IPANEMA is merely trying to be a Brazilian Music 101 information documentary and so should be judged on those limited terms, it still isn't very good. For one thing, it really looks too much like amateurish video, and though the video projection-system used may be at fault, even on 35mm Technicolor celluloid, the frequent use of explanatory big-font title cards would still scream "cheesy." And for another, I only cared for some of the music -- the jazz, samba and bossa nova material (the most interesting segment involved a Harlem high school whose band specializes in the complex samba beats and rhythms). But a greater amount of the music was from contemporary genres I simply can't stand as creativity-less technological noise -- electronic/dee-jay/hiphop remixes that get praised as representing "mashup" aesthetics, which I certainly would not deny they do but a point I consider a question-beg. (And get off my lawn!!!)

But I would have been disappointed in this even if it were just a VH1-MTV edumacational special, and it really made me appreciate more a film like YOUSSOU NDOUR: I BRING WHAT I LOVE (which I saw at Toronto in 2008 and I then called "a superior example of the genre"). While I had my doubts about the NDOUR film's through-line narrative, at least it had one, which gave the film a form, a focus and some tension. IPANEMA never manages that, mostly following a vague chronology that even l'il ol me, no expert on Brazilian music, could tell was skipping a lot and/or concentrating way too much on the present. We go from Carmen Miranda to Tropicalia and from there almost to the present day, where the film stays for most of its running time, though there is some backtracking to pick up several Brazilian genres' world popularity and obvious impact on 60s jazz. BEYOND IPANEMA picks up every subgenre and trend in the last 10 or 15 years with an "and then there's this group and then there's that singer, and here's this record shop" whirl of unsorted clips. And there's too much "home team" cheering about impact and importance (e.g., two dozen people in a single-aisle record store gets called a "concert," and the Top 5 Grammy-winning US hit from which the film derives its title gets called one of the biggest hits ever). We feel like we're seeing the public-relations recruiting film of a "Mad Men"-like eager beaver junior executive who landed the Brazil Music account.

Phil Freeman

I have just never been able to get into Brazilian music, with the exception of the rock sound of the Pernambuco region (the band to hear is Naçao Zumbi) and some early Sepultura. Samba and bossa nova do absolutely nothing for me. You can imagine what a huge problem this was when I was editing the world music magazine Global Rhythm from 2005-2007. Every time we ran a feature on a Brazilian artist, which was often 'cause that's one of the biggest subsets of the whole world music realm, you could hear me cringing and muttering from across the office.

Glenn Kenny

@ Victor: I didn't see the film but given your description it sounds like a real missed opportunity.

@ rotch: In terms of rock/pop, I'm still enjoying the latest PJ Harvey, Gruff Rhys' "Hotel Shampoo," the new Smith Westerns, new Go! Team, The Dum Dum Girls EP, new Earth, new Edwyn Collins, Faust's "Something Dirty" (real honey badger stuff), that James Blake feller, that kinda thing. In terms of jazz and "new" music, lotsa good new Laswell (and Praxis!) and Zorn stuff out, some stuff by trumpeter Peter Evans, Mostly Other People Do The Killing's latest, a trio disc with Evans, Mary Halvorson, and Weasel Walter, another trio with Walter, Henry Kaiser and Charles K. Noyes...etc. Everything recently released by Otomo Yoshihide is aces too. On tap to listen to: New Low, debut of Jonny (that group with the guys from Teenage Fanclub and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci), new Black Devil Disco Club, duo record by Matthew Shipp and Darius Jones.

Kevyn Knox

We should have probably heard more of this stuff in the visually stunning but audibly lackluster Rio!


When I was a kid I once bought a bag of 45s at a department store. The bag was see-thru plastic and held about 10 records, I think. You didn't know what you were getting, except for the records on the top and bottom of the stack. I think I bought it because Jr. Walker and the All-Stars "Shoot Your Shot" was on top. But it also contained the Sergio Mendes version of "Mas, Que Nada," which quickly became a fave among me and my siblings.

I'm definitely a bossa nova dilettante, but have always wanted to explore more. I have a solid Jobim compilation and the Jobim-Sinatra collaboration.

The only other Brazilian artists in my collection are Bebel Gilberto and the amazing Caetano Veloso (a Best of, which I'm sure only scratches the surface of his genius).


Just getting a little taste of the samples @ Amazon. Love this stuff.

No question about how music such as this has the ability lift one's spirit.

Cool artwork too.

Thanks for the recommendation.


to lift, as in to lift one's spirit.


Ah, yes, Jorge Ben. One of the many musical artists I've discovered via le cinema. Went straight to Tower Records back in the '80s after seeing this animated short:



Anyone interested in Brazilian music should pick up the Tropicalia Compilation. Essential music from the likes of Jorge Ben, Os mutantes, Gal Costa and Tom Ze. A great booklet comes with it about the movement of Tropicalia.


Glenn, I've been grooving on this compilation for weeks. May I recommend another Soul Jazz Bossa Nova comp, "Brazil Bossa Beat," which comes with even more cool cover art and extensive notes? Right now it looks like you can only order it here: http://www.forcedexposure.com/bin/search.pl?search_string=SJR+242CD&searchfield=exkeyword but I'm sure Other Music has copies.

James Keepnews

Wow, the Walter/Kaiser/Noyes is a new one to me, sounds great on blog paper -- freaking Bruce at DMG has to put me back on that new releases mailing list! No question, the new Peter Evans date Ghosts is one of the damnedest things I've heard in some time. He's such a virtuoso he could conceivably coast on chops for a lifetime but it's those lysergically fluid compositional structures that melt before your ears that impress me most on this disc -- not exactly head-solos-head, but it is, kinda, but it's more "Jesus, am I hearing that right?" at countless points along the way. Much like the Blue Series Thirsty Ear dates like Junk Magic, Nu Bop, Pentagon, The Shell Game, &c. a decade ago, Ghosts is an instant classic.

And per the Blue Series' curator Mr. Shipp, getting his and Mr. Jones' date is all a matter of when, not if. I'll probably buy it from the man himself at his concert next weekend up here in Cold Spring -- not that I'd ever try to use your blog to let people know about the Matthew Shipp Trio gig on Sat. April 30th at 7:30 PM at Cold Spring's acoustically sublime Chapel of Our Lady Restoration. Gracious, no, I'd never try to do that. What kind of troll do you take me for? Erk, um, maybe don't answer that... :}

Mark Slutsky

This is a great comp and the other one Soul Jazz just put out is great too. Brazilian music is endlessly mine-able; it's a whole other America's worth.

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