Mr. Gil didn't prove himself a great popular songwriter until 1967 or so; like most artists, he didn't arrive full-blown and had to learn his craft and make a living. In the early 1960's, while studying business administration at the University of Bahia in Brazil, he cut a few songs under the direction of Jorge Santos, who mostly recorded commercial jingles; that period is laid out for all to hear on the album "Salvador, 1962-1963" (Warner Brazil). These rare singles contain some sweet, bouncy Carnival marchinhas and samba ballads, but no incredible songs; one of the records, "Povo Petroleiro," was financed by an executive at Petrobras, Brazil's major oil company, and contains the lyric "our petrol is Brazilian gold; it's the pride of a petrol people." But as an early look at a great artist in the making it's instructive, like Andy Warhol's 1950's shoe drawings.
The end of the military dictatorship in Brazil left the country lost in its references and opened way for a period of wild hedonism. Realce, one of Gilberto Gil's most disco-influenced albums, is a document of that period. Released in LP format in 1979, it had the disco ideology expressed in several songs like "Realce" (which became slang for a dangerous drug frequently consumed in those places), "Sarara Miolo" (also a danceable tune, finds room for social criticism through black pride, where Gil reproaches the use of straightening and discoloring of hair by his brothers and sisters), "Marina" (featuring Dorival Caymmi), and "Toda Menina Baiana" (a hybrid of disco and Bahian samba).
Recorded live at the Montreux Casino, in the 12th Montreaux International Jazz Festival, in 14th of July 1978, Switzerland. This live disc contains a spirited live performace that touches on the funkier side of Gil and Brasilian music in general. Especially memorable is the second tune, Chororo, which has a kind of joyous tropical feel to it which is counter balanced by a musical bridge which appears several times that puts the major chords of the vocals against the minor chords of the band, creating an interesting 'tense' section in an otherwise upbeat song. The cover of Tropicalia favorite Bat Macumba is terrific as well, very extended and different than the Os Mutantes version. This disc is a great addition to any MPB collection, and might also be enjoyed by the jam band set due to Gil's band's funky and frenetic back up work.
This is undoubtedly the equivalent of Gilberto Gil "Unplugged" – Gil, his acoustic guitar, and a nonelectric five-piece band recorded live in a studio – and it is a thoroughly musical triumph as Gil mesmerizes his attentive audience for some 74 minutes. He starts out with the nearly pure reggae of "A Novidade," but before long, he establishes himself in a mostly consistent, loping set of intimate grooves thoroughly rooted in Brazil. Gil had a hand in writing all of this tuneful material except Anastacia Dominguinhos' "Tenho Sede," Caetano Veloso's "Sampa," and a left-field choice, Stevie Wonder's "The Secret Life of Plants," which lends itself very well to Gil's bossa nova approach and proenvironmental position. It is not a complete live portrait of Gil, though; the astounding quickness and flexibility of his voice is fully vented only toward the end of the concert. The later Quanta Live album will give you a wider panorama of Gil's range.
To lovers of Brazilian jazz, the pairing of these two legends of the genre amounts to something of a musical orgasm. The only serious misfire isn't really that bad, just a bit incongruous. Why would two consummate Brazilian ambassadors choose to do their one English lyric song – George Harrison's "Something" – as a reggae tune? The groove is silly, but actually some of the guitar work is fun. Just as when Ivan Lins sings in his native Portuguese rather than stilted English, this tandem is most at home conveying emotions that go beyond simple semantics, usually with Gil writing the music and Nascimento the lyrics. "Sebastian" is a moody bass-and-drum driven power ballad which functions as a showcase to their raspy vocals.
Gil Sharone’s “Wicked Beats” is a complete guide to the Jamaican drumming styles of Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae. Gil Sharone takes you on a musical journey through these styles and explores some of the earlier styles that helped shape them including African Nyabingi and Burru drumming.
Composer/arranger Maria Schneider and her 18-piece orchestra perform a variety of advanced and difficult music on this CD. The centerpiece of the set is her three-part "Scenes from Childhood" which deals with fear, confusion and grudging acceptance; do not look here for any childlike melodies or playfulness. In addition the big band plays a reworked version of "Giant Steps," the "Love Theme from Spartacus," the Spanish-flavored "El Viento" (which is slightly reminiscent of Gil Evans's writing for Sketches of Spain) and "Waxwings."
ALLEGRESSE was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.
Similar in nature to the lush, orchestral jazz work of J.J. Johnson and Gil Evans, Schneider here conducts a large group in a suite of detailed and neo-classical pieces. By turns sentimental ("Nocturne") and carefree ("Hang Gliding"), it is a largely satisfying effort.
In his latest work Fé na Festa, Gilberto Gil returns to his roots to celebrate the São João festival, a celebration, which fills northeastern calendars with a week of wall to wall forró in the month of June (more on forró music can be found here). In Brazil this is the end of the rainy season, as well as the corn harvest; the perfect time to celebrate. The title track instantly grabs you with its racy guitars, violins and steady percussion. The easy to follow chorus invites group participation in the best traditions of a Brazilian lual and warms up the uninitiated for the forró that is to follow…Towards the end of the album Gilberto returns to our forró education. “Aprendi com o Rei” brings back a more danceable forró beat and provides a useful intro to the musical form (if you can keep up whilst dancing). “Dança da Moda”, a cover of forró legend Luiz Gonzaga, is a true return to form.