sábado, setembro 23, 2006

Marcos Valle

I’m back again. Posts have been scarce lately. Why, was it…

A. I’ve been to busy workin’
B. I’ve been out of love, in love and out of love again
C. Lost interest in the medium and the wonderful world of blog
D. Out of upload/download credits
E. None of the above
F. All of the above

Who knows…

Fact is that the great singer/songwriter/producer and icon of brazilian music Marcos Valle is comin’ to Ghent for a concert on the 27th of October. I wasn’t aware of it until friends of mine, who had tickets, invited me to come along.

Humble thanx to thee, thy noble fair hearted friend.

A funny thing was that they didn’t know who Marcos Valle was, so for them I offer this introduction and warm-up for the concert.

Marcos Valle is part of the second wave of bossa nova composers, following in the footsteps of the great and both late Gilberto and Jobim.
In 1964, at the age of 19 he was named brasil's leading composer of the Year. So he made a quick start. His great strength is the melodic power of his songs. He basically wrote the tunes and his brother Paulo Sergio Valle wrote the lyrics.
The highlights of his musical output are from the sixties and the early seventies but he’s currently busy with a kind of a comeback since he was rediscovered in the late eighties by the rare-groove scene and the drum ‘n bossa and chill-out movements from the nineties. He subsequently released a couple of superb records over the last years.

Over the years he changed his style regularly to stay in tune with the changing times and applied as a true renaissance man with great results his melodic prowess to the following trends of brazilian popular music. As a result his music is one of the building blocks of MPB. Which is short for musica popular brasileira, the main musical songbook and cherished heritage of brasil.

Starting with standard bossa tunes like Samba de Verão, better known as So Nice and made famous by the likes of Astrud Gilberto, Walter Wanderley, Sinatra, Stan Getz, and many more, and Os Grillos better known as Crickets Sing For Anamaria wherein Valle's wife Anamaria cheerfully fills in for Astrud Gilberto as the obligatory blasé-voiced Bahian chanteuse.

In 1966 Walter Wanderley took Valle's song So Nice (Summer Samba) into the US Top 40. The international success of So Nice enabled Valle to move to the United States, where he worked as a composer for several years. In 1968, his Verve debut Samba '68 became a brazilian classic thanks to simple, infectious pop songs like Batucada. That same year, the brazilian-only Viola Enluarada with arrangements by Dori Caymmi, Eumir Deodato and Oscar Castro Neves, and back-up of The Jovem Guarda [which brought rock & roll to brasil] on a couple of tracks, became a big hit in South America, thanks in part to the title track [with vocals by a young Milton Nascimento].

The rock & roll era that had already influenced Tropicalistas like Os Mutantes, Caetano Veloso, and Gilberto Gil really began inspiring Valle on his return to brasil. He then promptly recorded several albums that arguably stand out as his greatest work.
With albums like the 1971 classic Garra, he moved away from native brazilian forms of bossa nova and samba into a rock and funk influenced sound that played upon groove-heavy bass and a smooth fusion-soaked sound.
My favourite one is Previsão do Tempo which means something like weather forecast but can also mean forecast or sign of the times [in my opinion]. During the late sixties and seventies brasil was under a military leadership and many artists (un)voluntary fled their country. The ones who stayed had to be very cautious not to be too critical. As a result many lyrics of that era have double entendres and so can be (mis)understood in many ways. Chico Barque da Hollanda’s song Calice is the best example of a sweet innocent message on top and bitter message underneath. The people understood this and loved them for it. On the other hand Valle was also clearly just out to have a good time with his band Azymuth on this goofy, funky album singing super-hummable tunes like Mentira and Previsão Do Tempo.

In the late seventies and eighties he finally moved to the US and continued to record solo albums, adding electronics and an smooth production techniques and started to produce music for film and tele novellas, including the theme to brasil's version of Sesame Street.

In the late 80’s dozens of rare-groove compilations started to appear which featured Valle’s crucial, overlooked tracks from the 60’s and 70’s.

In 1995, the British label Mr. Bongo released a two-volume series [The Essential Marcos Valle] dedicated to his work. This was my personnel introduction to his music.
One year later, Valle appeared on the jam-session compilation Friends from Rio, and in 1998 returned with a new album, Nova Bossa Nova. That same year, the Lumiar label released The Marcos Valle Songbook, Vols. 1-2, including new versions of Valle standards by Gal Costa, Caetano Veloso, Maria Bethania, Edu Lobo, Joyce, Chico Barque, João Bosco, and Azymuth, among others.

The new millennium heralded the studio album Escape and Contrasts.

His last album came out this year and is the reason for the current tour around Europe. I haven’t heard it yet but it’s apparently mainly light-jazz instrumentals. I hope the concert will not focus too much on this record and that he also plays some of his classic songs.

Samba de Verão / So Nice [Summer Samba]
Os Grilos
Crickets Sing for Anamaria
Batucada Sergiu
Viola Enluarada [Marcos Valle e Milton Nascimento]
Revolução Orgánica
Mustang Cor de Sangue
Previsão do Tempo
Sei Là
Samba de Verão 2
Samba de Verão [Caetano Veloso]
On Line
Bar Ingles [roc hunter mix]
Fundo Falso

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