Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Paz - Kandeen Love Song Spotlite SPJ-507 (1977)

In 1974 keyboard player Geoff Castle joined Latin fusion band PAZ and started a Sunday night residency at the Kensington pub in Holland Park, which ran for 8 years. The band, led by the late Dick Crouch, who wrote most of the material, built a huge following and in 1976 recorded the first of many BBC broadcasts. The band’s first album “Kandeen Love Song”, issued on Spotlite Records in 1977, quickly became popular on the club scene.

The first side was recoreded in 1976, when Brian Smith was the main melodist, playing soprano & tenor saxes and some flute. By 1977 when the three beautiful tracks on the second side were made, Ray Warleigh had taken over on soprano & tenor saxes, but on this album concentrates on piccolo in superb fashion.

Stay awhile on that second side. On it you will hear the title track, a long leisurely rhapsodic piece heavily featuring the flute. Should you marvel at the length of Ray Warleigh's lines, as he elegantly spins improvisations, then that's because he is using cyclic breathing - in through the nose and out through the mouth at the same time, to sustain the phrasing - just like Roland Kirk. Incidentally, the theme of Kandeen Love Song is thousands of years old, a tune which so seized Dick Crouch when BBC producer Angela Bond sang it to him that he added the chords.

Another unique point about this album: Ron Matthewson , probably recognised as the leader on his instrument in Britain, plays bass guitar with Paz , wheras he usually uses string bass. It could well be the first time he's ever been recorded playing bass guitar.

There's also a contrast between the first and second sides. Even though you'd rarely realise it, the 1977 tracks are played totally "free", but the good sense and feeling of the musicians disguises the fact almost completely.

Dick Crouch wrote Crotales (means "strings of bells") and The Bell Tree on the first side - on both of them there's glorious resonant bass from Matthewson. Solar Wind is the keyboardist's, Geoff Castle, who comes from the very rich background of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Graham Collier and Nucleus. Yours Is The Light is from Santana's repertoire, a most melodic and exhilarating version.

Listen to Warleigh's stratospheric piccolo on both The Buddha and Time Stood Still, two peices which show how relentlessly the band continue to move forward in ideas, execution and taste.

(Side One)
Brian Smith - soprano, flute; Geoff Castle - keyboards; Phil Lee - electric guitar; Ron Matthewson - bass guitar; Dick Crouch - Electravibe, percussion; Dave Sheen - drums; Simon Morton - congas
Recorded in London - Tuesday 18th May, 1976.

(Side Two)
Ray Warleigh - piccolo, flute, alto flute; Geoff Castle - keyboards, synthesizer; Phil Lee - electric guitar; Ron Matthewson - bass guitar; Dave Sheen - drums; Chris Fletcher - congas; Dick Crouch & Simon Morton - percussion
Recorded in London - Saturday 25th June, 1977.

1) Crotales
2) Solar Wind
3) The Bell Tree
4) Yours Is The Light
5) The Buddha
6) Time Stood Still
7) Kandeen Love Song

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Oscar Brown Jr. & Luiz Henrique

Oscar Brown Jr. & Luiz Henrique - Finding A New Friend Fontana SRF-67549 (1966)

Here's two artists who need no introduction. A rare coming-together by these great vocalists and friends who met at Greenwich Village's Cafe Au Go Go in August 1965. If truth be told, Brown's sly, sardonic vocal style isn't an exact fit for bossa nova; he has to rein himself in for this subtle, almost whispering idiom. But then, the songwriting collaboration works surprisingly well, mostly leaning toward a romantic bossa style, but occasionally hearkening back to Brown's North American hipster persona. And they wander off the territory altogether with Brown's playfully racy bossa calypso, "Wham! Bam! Thank You Mam!".

The album also includes a few Brazilian standards as appetizers before the collaboration begins in earnest. The multi-talented Brazilian Santa Claus, Sivuca, is responsible for three of the soft-focused arrangements, while Henrique takes charge of the rest.

1) Laia Ladaia
2) Nothin' But A Fool
3) Manha De Carnaval
4) Much As I Love You
5) I Had No Idea
6) Wham! Bam! Thank You Ma'm!
7) Finding A New Friend
8) Dawn Comes Again
9) Listen To Me
10) The Answer To My Prayer
11) Seeing Maria
12) Barra Limpa

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Na Trilha De Osmar Milito

Osmar Milito - Na Trilha De Osmar Milito SOMA 409.6002 (1974)

Noted pianist Osmar Milito is owner of a strong harmonic sense, and has collaborated with amongst others Liza Minelli, Sammy Davis Jr., Pat Metheny, Cláudio Roditi, Hendrik Meurkens, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Benny Golson, Spanky Wilson, Mark Murphy and Hermeto Pascoal.

Brother of Hélcio Milito (from the Tamba Trio), Osmar became a professional in 1964, backing Elis Regina, Silvinha Telles, Leny Andrade, Nara Leão, Paulo Moura, Edison Machado, Maria Bethânia, Gilberto Gil, Vinicius de Moraes, and Jorge Ben. After spending a season in Mexico, Milito settled in the U.S. for two years, during which he accompanied Sergio Mendes. Returning to Brazil in the '70s, Milito continued to work with top MPB artists such as Chico Buarque, Ivan Lins, and Nana Caymmi, and instrumental musicians such as Pascoal Meirelles, Márcio Montarroyos, Mauro Senise, and Paulinho da Costa.

I was going to post an individual film score by Milito but this fine album sports tunes taken from several Brasilian Novelas or soundtracks of which he recorded many and ably demonstrates the man's knack for penning hip, catchy and soulful bossas.

1) As Moças (Carinhoso)
2) Encabulada (O Primeiro Amor)
3) Hey Shazam (O Primeiro Amor)
4) Mandato (Selva de Pedra)
5) Corpo Sano Em Mente Sã (Selva de Pedra)
6) O Bofe (O Bofe - Abertura)
7) América Latina (Selva de Pedra)
8) Porcelana, Vidro e Louça (O Bofe)
9) O Primeiro Amor (O Primeiro Amor -Abertura)
10) Podes Crer (O Primeiro Amor)
11) Vou Disparar (O Primeiro Amor)