Featured Webcast Album: Brazilian Chill Sessions

19 02 2011

Leave it to a small Indie label in Argentina to pull together a dozen of the best New Bossa songs – each featuring a different musician or group – from the four corners of the globe to produce one of the best genre collections we’ve heard in a long time.

Over the past decade, New Bossa has come of age: progressing from the smoky influence of Acid Jazz and the come-and-gone novelty of the Chill and Lounge scene to stake out its own piece of the Brazilian music landscape. And while most of this music today comes to us from beyond Brazil’s shore, it’s also true that it represents a wider, more coherent vision for Brazilian pop than is currently being shown ‘back home’. And that’s not to say these New Bossa tunes aren’t authentic – you’re as likely to hear the songs on this disc on the dance floors of the best late night clubs in Rio and São Paulo as you are on your friend’s media player.

You won’t find driving beats and pulsing rhythms here – The label’s blurb says that “this is music to relax to, to dream and paint the air with colors. Brazilian Chill Sessions is an album where the beauty of the melody is felt at every moment. The effect produced by classics of Brazilian music combined with a chill-out mood is surprising. On this album we find well known Brazilian songs, (Garota de Ipanema, Corcovado, Samba De Uma Nota Só, Aquarela) composed by the heavyweights of this nation, such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes and Toquinho and brought to life anew.”

In cultural counterpoint this album offers up a nice assortment of originals, all of which are un-credited, which is a shame because while each of these can stand on its musical merit, several are worthy of greater attention. In fact, my only gripe with this album is the lack of liner note and personnel listings: Taking the scant information that is provided to Google yielded precious little to go on…

Ultimately, Brazilian Chill Sessions is a well ordered and entertainingly well-balanced album, showcasing new voices (including Moana, Ituana, Stereo Dub, Lila with Rhythmic Control and the sultry Karen Souza) at the forefront of a Brazilian music revolution – just as Sergio Mendes, Astrud and João Gilberto, Jobim, Roberto Menescal and Luis Eça did in their own generational 20’s and 30’s. 

Brazilian Chill Sessions: Sample the album here


Welcome to Brazilian Blend!

17 02 2011

Brazilian Blend explores the musical specturm of this amazing country – three songs at a time. We’re proud sto say that it’s one of the most popular Brazilian music channels on the web. Enjoy!

Featured Webcast Artist: Toninho Horta

7 01 2011



Toninho Horta’s musical talent has proved to be a watershed moment for the Brazilian guitar.  Our profile begins  with a Jobim tribute album recorded in 1998, but not released in the US until recently. Our coverage of  ‘To Jobim With Love’ starts with this feature story and continues with our 27/4 webcast channel. Enjoy!





By Rob Hoffman


More than two decades later, you could say that Toninho Horta finally came out of the closet. He has evealed to the world a secret that should not shock anyone who has become a fan of this legendary musician that Pat Metheny has called “the Herbie Hancock of guitar.”


Yes, he and Milton Nascimento helped create the so-called ‘Mineiro’ sound of the 70s and 80s. For years, his music has fit in comfortably with what has broadly both been labeled MPB and fusion. But in his heart of hearts, he was a huge fan of Antonio Carlos Jobim.


“He was the great father of Brazilian music. He was the most important composer of this century,” Horta said in a recent interview. “I grew up listening to Bossa Nova. It was very important to my knowledge of Brazilian music.” If only he had expressed that open admiration before the great composer’s death in 1994.


It’s not as if he didn’t have the opportunity. The two of them met at a 1985 recording session for Maria Bethania and arranged the Jobim classic “Ano Dourados” (“Golden Years”) together for the singer. And Horta later became friends with Jobim’s guitarist son Paulo, whom he would play with at New York City night clubs. Yet he never was able to screw up the courage and express to Jobim what his music had meant to him – and try to learn what how he composed all of those beautiful songs that made Brazilian music famous worldwide.


“I didn’t want to have him answer so many questions,” he said. “He was a very reserved man.”


Today, 14 years after Jobim died at the age of 66, Horta has finally said some words to Jobim  – this time in the form of the tribute album, “From Ton to Tom.” Though originally recorded and released in 1998, its origins go back farther than that.


In fact, you could pinpoint it to Dec. 23, 1994. Exactly 15 days after Jobim passed away from heart failure, Horta finished the song “From Ton to Tom” – a tribute not only in name to Jobim (known to Tom as friends), but a wordplay on the unusual chord changes so favored by the composer. As it proceeds, the song goes from A-Major to B-major to C-sharp – literally from key to key or “ton to ton” in Portuguese. The song was premiered on Christmas that year in front of 200 people at Horta’s nightclub with Horta’s six nieces singing vocals.  It was a great success, Horta recalls.


But Horta shelved the idea of including it on a future album. “Many people in the world started making tributes to Tom,” he said/. “I didn’t want to do that too.” Fast forward to four years later. Horta is signed to a one-album deal with the Japanese label Video. Learning that the label’s president loved Jobim’s music, the idea of reviving the song as the centerpiece of a Jobim tribute album is born. And now, after a decade-long wait. American audiences finally get a chance to listen to what some have called Horta’s crowning work.


The timing couldn’t have been better. Yes, it’s true that 2008 marks the 50th anniversary of Bossa Nova, the musical genre that Jobim primarily created.


Also,“From Ton To Tom” serves as an apt companion piece to another just-released Jobim tribute by Horta’s longtime friend and frequent collaborator Nascimento. While Nascimento’s “Novas Bossas” with the Jobim Trio (and percussionist Paulo Braga, who plays on both albums) pays tribute to the acoustic orientation of early Bossa Nova albums that Jobim did with Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz, Horta’s album acts as a mirror of Jobim’s more lushly orchestrated late 60s and 70s work with Klaus Ogerman and Creed Taylor – right down to mimicking the wordless vocalizing that Jobim turned into one of his late-period trademarks.


That’s not to say that early Jobim doesn’t play a major role on the album’s 14 tracks – four of which, including the title song, were written or co-written by Horta. In fact, the guitarist made it a point to include “Chega de Saudade,” “Desafinado” and “Meditaçao” on his album because “they were the main influences” on a certain 15-year-old budding guitarist growing up in Belo Horizonte.


Still, Horta gives the songs his own twist – taking away some of the melancholy imbued in the originals and infusing some extra happiness. The transformation is particularly true with “Chega,” which emerges softly out of a jungle with its slow rhythms and turns into a near Carneval by the time guest vocalist Gal Costa and Horta embark enthusiastically on the chorus as if to shoo the song’s title blues away forever.


“It’s more and light and open,” Horta said of the song, which literally translates to “No More Blues” in English. “In the end, we can say, ‘Let’s move forward, let’s move on.’”


Costa, who frequently collaborated with Jobim, is among several special guests tapped by Horta to pay tribute to Jobim by their very presence. Having heard Jobim once say that he wished Costa would record an album of his songs in English, Horta has the vocalist tackle the majority of the album’s non-Portuguese lyrics – including the beautiful title song, in which the six Horta nieces reprise their roles.


Saxophonist Bob Mintzer, whose gentle solo gives the lovely “Se Todos Fossem Iguais a Você” an extra boost, is a blatant stand-in for Getz. Multi-instrumentalist William Gallison, playing harmonica, effectively channels Toot Thielmnans on the Horta original“Christiana,” a jaunty piece in which the two musicians play off each other to make the song stand on its own among Jobim’s originals.


If it turns out this tribute album is the one that Horta is most remembered for, that would suit the veteran musician just fine. Not only did he finally get to pay tribute to his hero, but he had a chance to make the kind of album he always wanted to do with some of his favorite musicians. “Everybody I would have liked to have, the producer in Japan gave me the opportunity,” he said. “I am very happy to have this album finally released in America.”


To Jobim With Love:  Sample the album here