Inspiration liner notes
liner notes for Inspiration (scroll down for english)
Em um momento de indolente indigência na música brasileira, a apariçâo de um trabalho do altíssimo nível deste “Inspiration” merece uma missa de açâo de graças. Quando assisto, preocupadíssimo, ao crescimento de uma nova onda de xenofobia rancorosamante misturada a provincianismo cultural, com direito a argumentos fascistas em favor de uma suposta “música pura” ? felizmente impossível num país miscigenado por natureza-, a obra de Antônio Mello surge como uma bençâo. Dispensando planfetagem nacionalista, mostra ser possivel universalizar o quintal sem abrir mâo da essência brasileira.
Compositor de grande nobreza estética, e violonista cujo virtuosisimo jamais descamba para malabarismos yamandunescos, Antônio Mello revela um toque sempre preciso sem soar ecanisado, seguro sem resalvar na aspereza. Os momentos de lirismo passam longe da melosidade, as passagems mais intricadas escapam da tecnicidade guingesca tâo pretensiosa no rebuscamento gratuito. No caso de Antônio, a formaçIao clássica nâo levou ao academicismo, nem tampouco brecou o balanço lusco-fusco. Nesta sentido, ele aproxima-se, felizmente, muito mais da linhagem irrotulável de mestres como Laurindo Almeida, o grande patriarca do violâo brasileiro de alta classe, e dos fenominais Sérgio & Odai Assad, também expoentes internacionais.
Nessa journada, Antônio tem a companhia de excelsas figuras, a começar por Dexter Payne, clarinetista de belíssima sonoridade, fascinante fluência e para espanto geral dos que ainda pensam que “americano nâo swinga” – , dono de um fraseado de incrível malemolência; defini-lo como uma mistura de Artie Shaw com Severino Araújo nâo seria exagero algum.
Outro luminar, Gaudêncio Thiago de Mello, morubixada da percussâo orgânica, atua com a costumiera argúcia. Verdadeiro alquimista de sons, vai muito além do tempero rítmico, colorindo as faixas de que participa com sua lógica arquitetônica, de concepçâo orquestral. Sua associaçâo com Antônio Mello é o mais recente capítulo de uma série de memoráveis colaboraçôes com dois outros notáveis violonistas, Carlos Barbosa-Lima e Sharon Isbin, lhe renderam aclamaçâo mundial.
Seja na brejeirice de “Coraçâo Latinoæ, no lamento da evocaçâo agreste de “Nordestina nº 2″ (ne qual Dexter troca o clarinete pelo sax-alto, ás veces assemelhando-se ao oboé nas passagens pelas regiôes mas agudas), ou no sedutor romantismo de “Rapsodia in Choro”, nossos heróis estampan seus talentos ínclitos. Seguem enlevando coraçioes e mentes através da oblíqua “Marte” e da sinuosa linha melódica de “Infinitivamente” (duos de Antônio & Dexter), bem como por meio da dolente “Obrigado Paulinho da Viola”.
Há ainda a atmosfera etérea de “Canto dos Pássaros” e o encanto reflexivo de “Inspiraçâo”, pontuada pela intervençâo de berimbau mais sutil da história da música! Completando o cardápio, surgem e choro “Radamés e Pelé” (revelado por Jobim em seu disco derradeiro, “Antônio Brasileiro”, de 84) e “Mais Uma Vez”, de um certo Sebastiâo Barros (1917-1980), craque hoje practicamente esquecido (afinal, morto nâo tem como pagar jabá &) conhecido pela alcunha de K-Ximbinho, homenageado no contagiante pulsar da faixa derradeira, “Tema para K-Ximbinho”, com a voz de Thiago transformando-se numa percussâo extra. Proseas de três sábios unidos pela paixâo a música.
Arnaldo DeSouteiro (*)
London, 6 of April of 2003
(*) Mr. DeSouteiro is a musical producer, journalist, historian of jazz and Brazilian music, educator, columnist for the Brazilian newspaper “Tribuna da Impressa” -RIO DE JANEIRO. Member of the International Association for Jazz Education -IAJE, and the Jazz Journalists Association -NY.
“At a moment of indolent poverty in Brazilian music the appearance of a work of high level such as “Inspiration” deserves from all of us a grateful prayer . It is with deep concern that I watch the current growth of a rancorous new wave of xenophobia mixed with cultural provincialism complete with fascist arguments in favor of a supposed “pure music”. Fortunately this is impossible in a country like ours which by nature has its foundation in a mix of different cultures. Suddenly, like a blessing, the works of Antonio Mello emerge. Dispensing with nationalistic cliché, he shows that it is possible to universalize our turf without losing the Brazilian essence.
A composer of great aesthetic nobility, and a guitarist whose virtuosity never succumbs to juggling tricks, Antonio Mello reveals a touch always precise without sounding mechanical, sure without falling into harshness. The lyrical moments are without artifice, and the most intricate passages escape trivial arabesque technicality and the pretentiousness of gratuitous affectation. In the case of Antonio Mello, classical training did not lead to academicism, nor did it restrain his balance. In this sense, he fortunately approaches the lineage of masters beyond label such as Laurindo Almeida, the great patriarch of Brazilian guitar or the phenomenal Sergio & Odair Assad, also renowned international exponents.
For this outing, Antonio is in excellent company, to begin with, Dexter Payne, a clarinetist with beautiful sonority, fascinating fluency and – for the general astonishment of those who still think that “Americans cannot swing playing Brazilian rhythms” – he proves otherwise with his own incredible mischievious phrasing. To define him as a mixture of Artie Shaw and Severino Araújo would be no exaggeration whatsoever.
Other luminary, Gaudêncio Thiago de Mello, the High Chief of organic percussion performs with his costumary artistic shrewdness. A true alchemist of sounds, he goes way beyond the usual rhythmic patterns, coloring the tracks in which he participates with the arquitectonic logic of his orchestral conception. His association with Antonio Mello is the most recent chapter in a series of memorable collaborations with two other notable guitarists, Carlos Barbosa-Lima and Sharon Isbin, for which he received world-wide acclaim.
In the mischievousness of “Coraçâo Latino”, in the moaning evocation of the wasteland of “Nordestino nº 2″ (in which Dexter changes clarinet for alto sax, at times resembling oboe in the highest passages), or in the seductive romanticism of “Rapsodia in Choro”, our heroes confirm their illustrious talents. They continue enchanting hearts and minds through the oblique “Marte” and the sinuous melodic line of “Infinitivamente” (duet of Antonio & Dexter) as well as by means of the mournful “Obrigado Paulinho da Viola”.
There is still the ethereal atmosphere of “Canto dos Pássaros” and the reflective enchantment of “Inspiration”, punctuated by sudden appearance of the most subtle Berimbau playing in the history of music!
Completing the musical menu are two choros, “Radamés and Pelé” (from Jobim in his last record, “Brazilian Antonio”, of 1984) and “Mais Uma Vez”, of a certain Sebastião Barros (1917-1980), known by the nickname of K-Ximbinho who died penniless and today is practically forgotten, is here paid homage by the contagious pulse of the last piece, Antonio’s “Tema para K-Ximbinho”, with the voice of Thiago transformed into an extra percussive sound.
The feats of three wise men joined for the passion of music.”
Translation by Dexter Payne and Thiago de Mello
Arnaldo DeSouteiro – Biography
In Brazilian jazz circles, Arnaldo DeSouteiro commands the sort of respect and admiration that Orrin Keepnews and Quincy Jones enjoy in the United States — he is a heavyweight producer who has worked with his share of major Brazilian artists, just as Keepnews and Jones are famous for the American artists they’ve worked with.
The list of Brazilian stars DeSouteiro has produced includes João Gilberto, Luiz Bonfá, Dom Um Romao, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Yana Purim, Mario Castro-Neves, and João Donato, among many others. Comparisons to Keepnews and Jones are valid not only because of DeSouteiro’s work as producer, but also because of the historic perspective he brings to the table; DeSouteiro is a musicologist/historian who has an encyclopedic knowledge of Brazilian music (both jazz and pop) as well as non-Brazilian jazz and the European classical tradition. DeSouteiro could spend hours talking about the many styles of music that have come from Brazil, and he is knowledgeable of everything from bossa nova, samba, and tropicalismo (also known as tropicalia) to choro, forro, baião, and lambada.
He is well-versed in Rio de Janeiro styles as well as the Afro-Brazilian music that comes from Bahia and other parts of Northeastern Brazil. However, DeSouteiro isn’t as old as either Jones or Keepnews; both of them are old enough to be his father. DeSouteiro (who is fluent in both Portuguese and English) was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on
June 23, 1963. His mother is veteran classical pianist Delza Agricola, who did a lot to encourage her son’s interest in music. By the time DeSouteiro was 16 in 1979, he was freelancing as a music journalist and was writing a weekly column for Tribuna da Imprensa (one of Rio’s daily newspapers). He went on to freelance for a variety of other publications (including Keyboard magazine and Spain’s Cuadernos de Jazz), and it was in the ’80s that he started making a name for himself as a producer. By the time he was in his late thirties, the carioca had produced more than 50 albums — including albums by singer Ithamara Koorax, whom he married in 1990. That is in addition to producing specials for Brazilian television and providing liner notes for countless CDs. In the ’90s and early 2000s, he had an ongoing relationship with RCA/BMG’s Brazilian division and was overseeing quite a few of their jazz and pop reissues (many of which he wrote liner notes for). ~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide