Brazilian Album Reviews

This is the fourth page of Brazilian artists under the letter "B"

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Cido Bianchi "Show De Orgao: O Mais Belos Temas Do Cinema E TV" (Farroupilha, 1965)
(Produced by Rogerio Gauss & Os Farroupilhas)

A solo album by organist Aparecido (Cido) Bianchi, who is perhaps best known as a member of the jazz-bossa Jongo Trio. This all-instrumental album of movie themes is pretty sedate, dull even, with modest accompaniment and lots and lots of high-pitched organ work. Not really my cup of tea, but folks who are more into "easy listening" and soundtrack music in particular might find something to celebrate here. Nothing particularly "Brazilian," though: he does cover "Manha De Carnaval," from Black Orpheus, but it's just as bloodless as the rest of the record. No need to go out of your way to track this one down. Really.

Cido Bianchi "Cido Bianchi" (Som Da Gente, 1985) (LP)

BiD "Bambas & Biritas, v.1" (MCD/Soulcity, 2005)
Featuring a veritable who's-who of Brazilian hip-hop'n'soul, both old and new, this is a fairly sophisticated, mellow set, with a funky soul-fusion feel. Eduardo BiD is the main artist, playing host to an impressive cast of Black Rio samba-soul elders and contemporary hip-hoppers... Carlos Dafe, Seu Jorge, Marku Ribas and Elza Soares are among the big-name guests... which is kinda cool, although the now-over-the-hill Soares brings things to a painful, grinding halt when she croaks her way through an extended solo on "Mandinguera." (I know she's lauded as a living legend and all, but Ella Fitzgerald she ain't...) This isn't really my cup of tea, but it is one of the finer contemporary albums of its kind, and it thankfully forsakes the louder, more confrontational rap attacks of groups such as Afro-Reggae or the irritating techno-bleats of the "funk carioca" crowd. So, for folks looking for a low-key middleground to help them explore the booming Brazilian hip-hop scene, this is a pretty cool record to start your explorations. Worth checking out. (Available through )

Bide Ou Balde "Bide Ou Balde" (Abril, 2002)

Bide Ou Balde "E Preciso Dar Vazao Aos Sentimentos" (L & C Editoras, 2006)
Generic, fill-in-the-blanks, New Wave-tinged, power-poppy alterna-rock... Atypical for Brazilian pop, but also kind of fun, like a prefab mix of the Dickies and the B-52s. This disc is actually fairly engaging, right up until the handful of remix tunes that close the album... But for folks looking to close up the indie-rock vacuum in Brazil's rock world, this is certainly worth checking out. Not the greatest, but it's interesting to know it's there.

Victor Biglione & Marcos Valle "Live In Montreal" (Rob Digital, 2000)

Biquini Cavadao - see artist discography

Biriba Boys "Biriba: Alegria O Brasil" (Chantacler, 1965)
Lounge-y Latin dance music, with a bit of bossa and jazz. Pretty kitschy, overall. The Biriba Boys were the band of Sao Paulo-based bandleader and pianist/arranger Sergio Weiss, who led the group through the 1950s and '60s. Not sure how many other albums they recorded...

Biriba Boys "Biribalanco" (Chantacler, 1969)
This album has a brighter, more modern production style, as well as a more jazzy easy-listening sound. Still too kitschy for my tastes, but some retro-ists out there might get into these guys.

Lana Bittencourt "Maxximum" (Sony-BMG, 2006)

Luiz Bittencourt "Vereda Tropical" (Musidisc, 1962)
(Produced by Nilo Sergio)

Kooky, pleasant easy listening, with a four electric-guitar band, led by Bittencourt, with light rhythmic accompaniment, working its way through a set of standards ("Begin The Beguine," "Jalousie," et. al.) and some Brazilian oldies. There's sort of a Les Paul vibe here, like Bittencourt wanted to sound like him, but couldn't quite swing the whole multi-tracking thing, so he just hired a handful of guitarists instead. It's pretty kitschy, but okay, in a goofy, ephemeral kinda way. No idea who the other guitarists might have been.

Bixiga 70 "Bixiga 70" (AguaForte, 2011)

Bixiga 70 "Ocupai" (Mais Um Discos, 2014)

Bixo Da Seda "Bixo Da Seda" (Continental, 1976) (LP)
In the early 1970s, the mod-psych band Liverpool metamorphosed into an experimental prog group - a transitional album under the name "Liverpool Sounds" led to a further name change, and a move from Porto Alegre to Rio... Although they rechristened themselves years earlier, this was their only album recorded as Bixo Da Seda.

Tony Bizarro - see artist discography

Black Joe & The Gordons "Barra Limpa 2: As 12 Mais Da Musica Juventude" (Op-Disc)
I'm not sure what to make of the singer called Black Joe (who apparently took his name from an iffy old Stephen Foster song...) I own one of his records, I've seen two others, and it appears there are at least a half dozen of them, all issued on the cheapo Op-Disc label, all from indeterminate dates in the mid-to-late '60s. There's a definite crossover in his work with the prefab, teenie-bopper jovem guarda style, with Black Joe both premiering and covering songs in the genre, and writing a few himself... And yet, the man remains a mystery, relegated to the back pages of Brazilian MPB, with no tangible information about him that I've yet been able to find online. On this album, Joe seems to have been part of (or backed by) the band The Gordons, but they faded from sight on future albums... So... anyone know more about this guy?? Also... anyone know what year(s) these albums came out?

Black Joe & The Golden Medals "Barra Limpa 5: As 12 Mais Da Musica Juventude" (Op-Disc)
(Produced by F. Contreiras)

Black Joe "E O Bom" (Op-Disc)
(Produced by F. Contreiras)

Aldir Blanc - see artist discography

Billy Blanco - see artist discography

Blitz - see artist discography

Blow Up "Blow Up" (Caravelle, 1969)
The first full-length album by this dynamic hippie-era rock band, formerly known as The Black Cats... These guys cited the Bee Gees as influences; you can also hear traces of sophisticated but hip pop bands such as the Rascals in their work -- and certainly The Zombies, since they cover "Time Of The Season" here (in English, unfortunately -- I would have loved to hear that song em Portuguese!) Blow Up (named after the Antonioni film) later toughened up their sound and became more of a hard-rock group, but this earlier, twee-er stuff is fun, too. Definitely one of the more vigorous rock bands of the jovem guarda era!

Blow Up "Blow Up" (Caravelle, 1971)
A pretty groovy hippie rock album, with plenty of stylistic influences, running roughly from the country-folkier side of the Byrds to a more heavy rock sound with little bursts of Cream-ish power chords and more jittery stuff that seems more Brit-Mod influenced. It's pretty cool, even on the songs where they sing in English. Apparently these guys had several changes of line-up and in addition to these two albums they also released a few singles, as late as '77... They certainly seem like good candidates for a best-of reissue disc!

Boca Do Rio "Boca Do Rio" (Vagabundo, 2007)
A slick, playfully funky mix of Brazi-Latin jazz and sugary pop... These San Francisco Bay Area artists take up the banner from younger, pop-friendly artists like Charlie Hunter, Peter Apfelbaum and Martin Medeski & Wood, who make jazz more accessible and less remote to mainstream listeners... The approach may be too soft for some (including myself) but for the right listeners, it'll be like aural catnip. Included in this crew are guitarist-singer Kevin Welch and pianist Jacob Aginsky (who once tickled the ivories at a local Bay Area breakfast joint I used to frequent...) The style isn't my cup of tea, but I'm not the only arbiter of taste in the world... If you like smooth-sounding world-jazz, this might really grab you.

Boca Livre - see artist discography

Boca Nervosa "Nego Veio" (Raposa Discos, 1985)
(Produced and arranged by Ze Carlos)

Sweet, pleasant acoustic samba with an old-school acoustic pagode feel... A few songs start off with gooey keyboards, but there are only a few songs that do, and they aren't really horrible, just a little annoying for a few moments... Mostly, this is a very nice set, with the sweet, classic sound. Recommended!

Bola Sete - see artist discography

Bolao "Favoritas Do Brotos" (RCA Camden, 1961)
The saxophonist nicknamed "Bolao" was apparently a member of the studio group Os Sambaloucos, and recorded several solo albums as well, many with youth-oriented "fad" themes.

Bolao "Cha Cha Cha E Twist" (RCA Camden, 1963)

Bolao "Muito Legal! Hully-Gully, Surf, Twist" (RCA Victor, 1964)

Bolao "Hully Gully" (RCA Victor, 1964)

Bolao "Forro Do Bolao" (Arlequim, 1979)

Bolao "Back 2 Bahia" (Stern's, 2003)
This percussionist, also nicknamed "Bolao," is a different guy from the '60s jazz musician. Not a lot of info about this release, either: for one thing, I'm not sure if this is the drummer Carlos Bolao listed below. Anyone know more about this guy?

Carlos Bolao "Pulsacao" (Guitarra Brasileira, 2009)

Bom Gosto "Roda De Samba: Ao Vivo" (EMI, 2005)
Old-school traditional samba-raiz -- the kind of stuff that was called pagode in the 1970s, before the term was taken over by slick pop-samba bands in the 1990s. Anyhoo, if you like groups such as Grupo Fundo De Quintal or Grupo Revelacao, you might like these guys, too.

Bom Gosto "Deixa Eu Cantar Meu Samba: Ao Vivo" (Sony-BMG, 2007)

Bonde Do Role "With Lasers" (Domino, 2007)
A poppy, techno-y, gleefully brainless, version of the baile funk/funk carioca dance style. This band's secret weapon is the piercingly tinny, half-innocent/half-mocking, adolescent tones of Marina Gasolina, who is, I believe, both the band's singer and the name of their hit single... It's kind of a Salt'n'Pepa/L'Trimm thing going on here. Anyway, I'm maybe a little too old for this kind of thing, but if you're looking for Brazilian music that (was) a little bit more modern, or more lighthearted than all that classic bossa and MPB, this party-down dance band might be just what you ordered.

Bonde Do Role "Tropicalbacanal" (Mad Decent, 2012)
I like this followup full-length better, just because it seems better produced and because they seem like a more accomplished band, after several years making EPs and remixes and whatnot. It just feels like a better record, even though ironically it has more kind of music that actively irritate me (a greater overt emphasis on rap, and more English-language lyrics; also less Gasolina). Lots of guest stars on here, most notably Caetano Veloso, who really, really, wants to make the scene with the kids today. Although there's a lot of stuff on here I'd say I don't need to listen to more than once, there are also several very fun songs... Overall, this definitely worth checking out.

Luiz Bonfa - see artist discography

Marcelo Bonfa "O Barco Alem Do Sol" (Trama, 2000)
A bouncy solo effort by a former member of Brazil's revered part-punk pop supergroup, Legiao Urbana. As with his old band's work, this album alternates between more-indie and more-commercial leanings... The Velvet Underground-ish undertone of a few songs is nice (but not that prominent), while a other tunes drift into formulaic alternapop. The overall effect is, I suppose, of a Brazilian Morrissey (?) Probably worth checking out, if you're interested in hearing something from the world of modern, international guitar rock.

Marcelo Bonfa "Bonfa + Videotracks" (EMI, 2004)
A 2-disc CD-DVD set...

Marcelo Bonfa "Mobile" (Giz Producoes, 2008)

Emilinha Borba - see artist discography

Luiz Bordon "Recordando Carnavais" (Chantecler, 1960-?)
Carnival hits played on the Paraguayan harp? What will they think of next...?

Ari Borger "Blues Da Garantia" (ST2, 2000)
The blues have never had a particularly large presence in Brazil... The tropicalistas dabbled in them a bit; various rockers have played a riff here and a riff there, but for the most part, the style never seemed to strike the fancy of Brazilian audiences. That makes this a very unusual album -- an accomplished, hard-edged, houserocking blues blast, led by Sao Paulo pianist Ari Borger. He's got the goods: this is a punchy, well-produced set... superior, even, to most of the blues coming out in the United States these days. Vocalist Ivone Williams, who fronts the band on most of these songs, also has serious blues chops, wailing away in a Koko Taylor-y, Francine Reed-like fashion. The only trouble, though, is that most of the songs are sung in English, rather than Portuguese, which makes this merely a good blues album, rather than a rare and amazing cultural artifact. Still, this is worth checking out if you want to hear a completely different kind of Brazilian pop.

Ari Borger "AB4" (ST2, 2004)

Ari Borger "Backyard Jam" (GRV, 2010)

Lo Borges - see artist discography

Os Borges "Os Borges" (EMI-Odeon, 1980)
The Borges family band, featuring Lo Borges and his half-dozen brothers, as well as their mom and dad, as well as guest performers Lucio Alves, Gonzaguinha, Milton Nascimento and Elis Regina... A little more accessible than Lo's own work, but definitely some similarities that give a sense of what his musical roots were like... Interesting!

Joao Bosco - see artist discography

Bossacucanova & Roberto Menescal "Brasilidade" (Six Degrees/Ziriguiboom, 2001)
As one of the primary architects of bossa nova's sleek, tony sound, composer Roberto Menescal is justifiably a legendary figure, having co-written or arranged several of the genre's greatest early standards. Over the years, though, his own albums have tended towards syrupy easy-listening, particularly his many all-instrumental albums. But Menescal's penchant for the lightweight finds a surprisingly effective match in the retro EZ-fusion impulses of the Bossacucanova collective, which, by the way, includes his son Marcio as a member of the band. BCN's sub-jungle skittering and flat-out house-trance disco-isms lend themselves perfectly to Menescal's melodic minimalism. It's as if all those old albums of his were just waiting for someone to insert a few extra breakbeats and noodly toodlings to fill the empty spaces. Improbably, this is a pretty good record, and only mildly embarrassing to listen to. Worth checking out.

Bossacucanova "Uma Batide Diferente" (Six Degrees, 2004)
A fine album, in my opinion their best to date. The clubby touches accent but do not outweigh the more "Brazilian" elements, and finally the fusion sounds seamless. Guest stars abound on this well-produced album, including Marcos Valle (father of Bossacucanova's Marcio Valle), Adriana Calcanhoto and singer-guitarist Celso Fonseca and old-school '60s soulster Orlandivo. A few tunes got on my nerves, but for the most part, this was a very listenable record... Worth checking out!

Bossa Tres/b> - see artist discography

Richard Boukas & Jovino Santos Neto "Balaio" (Malandro, 2001)
Mellow and accomplished acoustic jazz featuring original compositions by this New-York based guitarist and Brazilian pianist. There are also a trio of tunes by Braz-jazz legend Hermeto Pascoal, whose band Jovino Santos Neto performed in for much of the 1990s... The vibe is kind of a cross between John McLaughlin and Milton Nascimento -- Boukas scats in a very Milton-like fashion, although with more restraint and precision. These tunes are generally very sprightly; overall this isn't my cup of tea, but it's very nice for the style, and if you like acoustic jazz, you might enjoy this disc...

Boyz From Brazil "Boyz From Brazil" (Ya Basta, 1999)
...Who actually seem to be from France. Lounge-y, acid-jazz-y, break beat-y mellow stuff which rather obliquely refers back to the acoustic cool of bossa nova and the (somewhat muted) thunder of Afro-Brazilian percussion. Not my cup of tea, but fans of the style might find this 2-CD set to be quite pleasant.

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