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Lalo Schifrin: Brazilian Jazz

Time warp. Originally released in 1962 under the title Bossa Nova: New Brazilian Jazz, this reissue features four members of the 1957 Dizzy Gillespie quintet delving into Brazilian music. But despite the high-caliber performers this album is a good example of the sum of all parts not adding up to something greater.

Brazilian Jazz possesses that familiar fast tempo of the gone-by Carmen Miranda era, a time when Brazilian music was new to U.S. audiences. Castro-Neves’ “Chora Tua Tristeza,” for example, loses its original sad feeling with a fast samba approach. The same annoying speed is found in Paulo and Madrid’s “Bossa em Nova York.” It is clear that there is a fixation with fast drumming and lots of hissing percussion in Brazilian Jazz. Quite frankly, you will find yourself running out of breath at the end of this album because of its fast pace.

Aside from a minor liner-note error transposing Maysa Matarazzo’s name in the credits for “Ouca,” what is really bothersome here is the overall tone of these renditions. Even for 1962, these arrangements are clunky and dated. From the first track, “O Amor e a Rosa,” the frantic rhythms and tambourine solos are stereotypical and distracting.

If you listen to Brazilian Jazz from a historical point of view, it might work. This is the same music that inspired artists such as Stan Getz and Quincy Jones to Brazilian music. Otherwise, after five or six tracks, Brazilian Jazz lends itself to background music

Originally Published