Brazilian Album Reviews

This is Page 4 of a listing of miscellaneous albums and artists under the letter "M"

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Marilia Medalha - see artist discography

Arnoldo Medeiros "O Homen, O Poeta" (RCA, 1975)
(Produced by Helcio Milito; arrangements by Luiz Eca)

An appealing album by a successful young MPB composer of the 1970s, backed here by Luiz Eca and the Tamba Trio, as well as a bright chorus made up of members of Trio Esperanca and The Golden Boys. The sound is mostly a soft version of the mellow, summery "samba rock" style, with a disco-y/fusion-y tinge to the production. However, this is one of those pleasant instances where the material and the performances transcend the limitations of cheesy pop production -- indeed, the album is inviting enough that the kitschy '70s sounds are pleasantly nostalgic. I'm not sure if Medeiros made many other records, but this one's really nice, especially with Trio Esperanca singing throughout. Worth checking out!

Elton Medeiros - see artist discography

Geraldo Medeiros & Orquestra Brasileira De Ritmos "Dancando O Frevo" (Musidisc, 1956)
Trumpeter and saxophonist Geraldo Medeiros was an integral member of Severino Araujo's Orquestra Tabajara... On this "solo" set, he digs into the frevo style the Tabajara crew excelled at... This set has a rougher, slightly wilder edge, without quite the same sleek panache as the Tabajara albums, and a smaller ensemble as well. (Not sure who the other musicians were, but I assume they were also drawn from Araujo's big band... Sounds like about an eight-piece band, perhaps?) Admittedly, I find the manic pace and static arrangements of the frevo style to be a bit monotonous -- a little goes a long way -- but you're a devoted gafieria fan, you'll want to check this out.

Os Megatons "Os Megatons " (Philips, 1964)
Twangy, jangly surfin' rock instrumentals, also with a Shadows-esque tone. To be honest, the lead guitarist(s?) weren't really all that good, but even if they lacked finesse, the band still sounded cute, and they were competent rockers. Like many Brazilian rock bands of the era, I wish they had sung in Portuguese... But I felt the same way about the Shadows as well...

Helena Meirelles "Raiz Pantaneira" (Eldorado, 1998)
An unusual, but uncompelling, record from the Brazilian back-country. Meirelles is a little old lady who plays a shiny, metallic guitar that looks like a dobro. Her musical style is atypical: it sounds a lot like Mexican corridos, but is also rather static and monotonous. I'm sure it's super-authentic, but I couldn't get into it...

Helena Meirelles "Flor Da Guavira" (Eldorado, 1999)

Helena Meirelles "Grande Dama Da Viola" (Eldorado, 1999)

J.T. Meirelles - see artist discography

Joao Mello "Apresentando Joao Mello Em Ritmos Do Brasil" (Sinter, 1959)

Joao Mello "A Bossa Do Balanco" (Philips, 1963)
(Produced by Luiz Eca)

A delicious set of classy, restrained bossa nova songs from Joao Mello, a prolific composer who also went on to become one of the major session producers of the classic bossa nova and MPB years. Here he is backed by pianist Luiz Eca and the Tamba Trio, in one of their most crisp and understated performances. There's a sweet lilt and danceable bounce to this album, also a pleasant air of imperfection and imprecision -- this could have easily been an overproduced, over-orchestrated pop set, instead, it's a lovely record of small-scale, small-ensemble bossa, a model of economy. Nice to hear such a famous studio producer performing as a frontman for once: sounds great. Features several songs written by Mello, as well as by Tito Madi, Chico Feitosa, Rildo Hora and others.

Joao Mello "Coracao So Faz Bater" (Som Livre, 2000)

Jorge Mello "Besta Fera" (Crazy, 1976) (LP)

Luciana Mello - see artist discography

Luiz Melodia - see artist discography

Fernando Mendes "Fernando Mendes" (EMI, 1974)
(Produced by Maestro Gaya & Milton Miranda, arrangements by Clelio Ribeiro)

Soporific, ephemeral soft-pop with occasional glimmers of life... Mendes seems to have been ready to take up the Roberto Carlos's long-discarded mantle as a Brazilian teen heartthrob, but boy, is this snoozy. There's one song, "Nao Vou Me Entregar," that has some mildly wild electric guitars on it, but for the most part the arrangements are rather static and slow. You're not missing anything here, trust me.

Fernando Mendes "Fernando Mendes" (EMI, 1975)
(Produced by Miguel Plopschi, arrangements by Clelio Ribeiro)

There's a lot more stylistic variety from his previous album -- maybe a touch of Santana-esque guitars to spice things up -- but it's still pretty dull material. Leif Garrett and Shawn Cassidy seem like pimpin' mackdaddies compared to this wuss!

Fernando Mendes "Fernando Mendes" (EMI, 1978)

Fernando Mendes "Selecao De Ouro" (EMI, 1998)
A best-of set...

Helio Mendes "Weekend No Rio" (Musiplay, 1963)
Unremarkable, third-tier bossa-era nightclub instrumentals... I suspect Helio was banking on folks confusing him with the then-rising Sergio Mendes, a theory which is borne out by his cover (on his other album) of Jorge Ben's "Mais Que Nada," which had been a huge hit for Sergio. Regardless, this is hardly memorable material: the piano work is okay, everything else -- saxophone, accordion, percussion -- is leaden and bland. A cheesy tourist album with, as far as I can tell, no real historical significance.

Helio Mendes & Seu Trio Vagalume "Na Bossa" (Musiplay, 1963)

Renato Mendes "Electronicus" (RGE, 1974)
Some sort of electronic music project, with keyboardist Mendes playing on the Moog synthesizer. I haven't heard this one myself, just caught wind of it through the grapevine...

Roberto Mendes "Flama" (Nosso Som, 1988)

Roberto Mendes "Matriz" (Casa Da Musica, 1992)

Roberto Mendes "Roberto Mendes & Baianos Luz" (Velas, 1994)

Roberto Mendes "Roberto Mendes" (Velas, 1994)

Roberto Mendes "Voz Guia" (Velas, 1996)

Roberto Mendes "Minha Historia" (Velas, 1999)

Roberto Mendes "Traducao" (Atracao, 2002)
(Produced by Ana Maria T. Mendez)

A super-groovy, funky-freeform, acoustic-samba-MPB groovefest... Bahian singer-songwriter Mendes readily brings to mind Gilberto Gil's exuberant improvisational work of the early 1970s -- the driving, hypnotic fervor is there, as is the light vocal tone. This affinity is borne out in a duet with Gil's old buddy, Caetano Veloso, who adds his elegant touch to "Namorar, Vem Namorar," one of the numerous Mendes originals on this delightful album. Margareth Menezes and Jussara Silveira also chime in, although it's Mendes's fervent, high-energy performance that really makes this album click. If you're a fan of Jorge Ben or Gilberto Gil's classic samba-funk grooves, you'll want to check this disc out as well! (Thanks to the folks at Cana Brava Records, in Salvador, for sending a copy our way...! )

Roberto Mendes "No Embalo Da Seresta" (2002)

Roberto Mendes "Tempos Quase Modernos" (Atracao, 2006)

Roberto Mendes "Cidade E Rio" (Biscoito Fino, 2008)

Sergio Mendes - see artist discography

Martha Mendonca - see artist discography

Roberto Menescal - see artist discography

Jose Menezes "Dedos Privilegiados" (Sinter, 1954)

Jose Menezes "A Voz Do Violao" (Sinter, 1957)

Jose Menezes "Ritmos Em Alta Fidelidade" (Sinter, 1957)
A jazzy 6-song set from this prolific guitarist... Menezes was a session player for countless recordings in the 1950s, notably with maestro Radames Gnattali, but also led his own combo on a number of records before forming the parodic bossa-era band, Os Velhinhos Transviados. This is a nice EP with Menezes playing electric guitar in a variety of styles, playing samba and regional Brazilian music with a North American jazz-guitar sensibility. His medley of baiao classics, "Nao Interessa Nao/Repinica Raimundo/Xaxado" is particularly noteworthy, giving this sometimes-inaccessible style a sweet, light tone. Nice stuff!

Orq. De Frevo Jose Menezes "Os Maiores Sucessos Do Frevo" (PolyGram, 1983)
I'm not exactly sure I could describe to you what the style of music known as frevo is all about -- according to the modest liner notes on this album, it was first noted as an offshoot of the capoeira bouts, as early as the 1850s... So it's a rhythm or style of music that predates the maxixe and samba by several decades... But I still don't know enough about it to fairly describe its characteristics or significance. In this incarnation, as played by Jose Menezes's band, it's a fairly glitzty, hyperactive marching band music: if your local college brass band was really, really, really creative, they might come up with something like this.

Margareth Menezes - see artist discography

Os Meninos Do Deus "Aperte...Nao Sacuda!" (1974)
Rock and psychedelic-tinged gospel music from the tropicalia era of Brazilian pop. A modest gospel chorus melds well with Bowie-esque guitar, folk-rock and '70s-style pop; there's a clear debt to Hair and other hippiesque gospel-pop of the time. Overall, this is quite nice, a good mix of perky, earnest innocence and musical accomplishment. Like Communidade S8 (another Brazilian religious group that put out records around the same time) Meninos Do Deus were a musical band affiliated with a larger religious organization, in this case, the Children of God, a creepy, hippie-ish evangelical group from America that had cultish, apocalyptic overtones and was notorious for various sexual practices, including "flirty fishing" (having young women sexually seduce new converts, and find financial "donors" for the cause) as well as allegations of child abuse. If the evangelical angle (and the other stuff) doesn't bother you too much, there are some nice poppy songs on here, although the history behind the music is pretty disturbing. I don't know how much these particular Brazilian musicians were involved in the politics or lifestyle choices of the international organization, although you can read more about them in this post on the Brazilian Nuggets website

Os Meninos Do Deus "Amor Nunca Falha -- Capitulo 2 " (Polydor, 1975)

Os Meninos Do Rio "Os Meninos Do Rio" (Sony/Carioca Discos, 2000)
(Produced by Paulinho Albuquerque)

An absolutely gorgeous set of old-school acoustic pagode samba, honoring the work of composers such as Ivone Lara, Jair Do Cavaquinho, Elton Medeiros and Nelson Sargento. A bunch of these old-timers are pictured and named on the front cover, and make guest appearances thoughout, although the album is anchored by a group of younger musicians who, I assume, go by the name of Os Meninos Do Rio. At any rate, this is a super-lovely record. Fans of Beth Carvalho or the Velha Guarda Da Portela owe it to themselves to track this one down.

Daniela Mercury - see artist discography

Alex Mesquita "Curva Do Tempo" (Rara Records, 2009)

Caio Mesquita "Jovem Brazilidade" (EMI Brazil, 2006)

Caio Mesquita "Ao Vivo" (EMI Brazil, 2006)
A live performance by saxophonist Caio Mesquita, with guest performer Ivan Lins...

Caio Mesquita "Natal" (Luar, 2006)

Caio Mesquita "Jovem Brazilidade, v.2" (EMI Brazil, 2007)

Caio Mesquita "Um Feliz Natal"

Caio Mesquita "Sertanejo" (Universal, 2009)

Custodio Mesquita "Prazer Em Conhece-lo" (Atracao, 1998)

Ronald Mesquita "Bresil '72" (Barclay, 1972)
The drummer for the late-1960s bossa-jazz band Rio 3, Ronald Mesquita briefly led this Sergio Mendes-ish bossa-pop outfit... The record came out in France; I'm not sure if the group was based there as well.

Suely Mesquita "Sexo Puro" (Tratore, 2007)

Suely Mesquita "Microswing" (Tratore, 2008)

Messias - see artist discography

Mestre Ambrosio "Mestre Ambrosio" (Tratore, 1997)

Mestre Ambrosio "Fua Na Casa De Cabral" (Sony/Chaos, 1999)
Challenging modern music from this youthful mangue beat band out of Recife. A truly weird, psychedelic, distorted take on the street samba sound, mixing spacy electric guitars with clattering percussion and other non-rock instruments, such as pife flutes, an accordeon and a violin, and a wild mix of rock, forro, maracatu and other styles. It's kind of like hearing the Quinteto Violado on acid. (I bet they're amazing live.)

Mestre Ambrosio "O Terceiro Samba" (Sony, 2001)
(Produced by Beto Villares)

Their third album... another odd, compelling offering from this eclectic regional band... This time around their sound is much more stripped down, in some ways even static, yet the combination of a modern sensibility with antiquated regional styles such as coco and maracatu makes this album sound unique and fresh... The instruments are all acoustic, with a scratchy violin at the center of many songs, and a bit of accordion and forro-style percussion... You can tell instantly that this is a modern band, but their approach is so unlike their rock and samba-oriented contemporaries that it's really quite delightful... Highly recommended!

Mestre Bimba "Curso De Capoeira Regional" (JS Discos, 1969)

Mestre Caicara "Academia De Capoeira De Angola Sao Jorge Dos Irmaos Unidos Do Mestre Caicara" (EMI-Copacabana, 1973)
Stark-sounding capoeira of the "Angola" school, which is slower and less flashy than "regional" capoeira. This band was led by Antonio Carlos Moraes, aka Mestre Caicara, a Recife native who delved into the African roots of Brazilian capoeira, and was one of the first artists to record the Angola style. The rhythm is a slow, heavy beat, spanked out on a tambourine, with the berimbau leading the melody and pushing the movement. The vocals are also slow and deliberate, but also passionate and intense. Recommended, particularly for students of the art...

Mestre Marcal "...Interpreta Bide E Marcal" (EMI-Odeon, 1978) (LP)
(Produced by Renato Correa)

Nilton Delfino Marcal, better known as Mestre Marcal, was one of the most highly regarded percussionists of the 1970s, working with some of the decade's top samba stars, as well as recording several albums of his own, highlighting his mastery of batucada drumming. This record is an homage to his father, Armando Vieira Marcal, who sang and played percussion on Radio Nacional in the 1930s and '40s, and Marcal's musical partner Alcebiades Maia Barcelos, aka Bide, a cavaquinho prodigy who also performed on Radio Nacional and composed several early popular samba-cancao hits, including "A Malandragrem," which was first recorded by Chico Alves in 1927. Bide and Marcal backed numerous stars of the 1930s, and were particularly known for their work with legendary choro/samba-cancao flautist Benedito Lacerda (a download-only collection of these classic recordings is available online...)

Mestre Marcal "A Incrivel Bateria Do Mestre Marcal" (Polydor, 1987) (LP)
(Produced by Durival Ferreira)

A groovy collection of samba enredo Carnaval percussion, culled from various parade albums from the '70s and '80s. Drummer Nilton Defino Marcal, who died in 1994, apparently worked with several different samba schools, including Portela and Mangueira, with invariably great results. This disc should make batucada fans quite happy. The CD version includes liner notes that explain the role of all the various instruments in the bateria. Nice stuff.

Mestre Marcal "Samba Enredo De Todos Os Tempos" (Velas, 1993)
(Produced by J.C. Botezelli-Pelao & Argemiro Ferreira)

Percussionist Mestre Marcal takes on the role of a Carnaval puxador, singing lead in a sweeping and celebratory survey of popular Carnaval themes, originally performed between 1949-1988 by several samba schools that he has worked with over the decades. The performance style here is closer to 'Seventies samba-raiz, with the unstoppable rhythm section supporting a large vocal chorus, punctuated by cavaquinho and 7-string guitar, in contrast to Marcal's older, more stripped-down batucada recordings that mainly emphasized the drumming. Among the musicians, drummer Wilson das Neves is perhaps the most notable... Admittedly, it does all start to sound a lot alike, but it's great stuff nonetheless.

Mestre Marcal "Serie Aplauso" (BMG-Brasil, 1997)

Meta Meta "MetaL MetaL" (Mais Um Discos, 2014)

Metro "A Gota Suspensa" (Underground, 1983) (LP)
The independently-released debut album by this '80s new wave group originally came out under the band name A Gota Suspensa, but they changed to Metro after signing with a major label, and the album got retitled retroactively... The original lineup included lead singer Virginie, who quit the band a few years later when they started to change their sound.

Metro "Olhar" (CBS, 1985)
This was Metro's big hit album, and it's a pretty good -- at least better than average -- slice of genuine, uptempo Brazilian new wave. It's a strong showcase for Virginie's lead vocals, giving the record a real Romeo Void/Human League feel -- more keyboard-y than synthy, poppy and propulsive, but not brooding or fey. In a scene that was so derivative and less accomplished than their US or UK peers, this is an album that stands out for its vigor and pop appeal. Definitely worth checking out if you're interested in exploring this wing of Brazilian pop.

Metro "A Mao De Mao" (CBS, 1987)
I think this was the album that came out after group's original lead singer split off to form her own band, Virginie & O Fruto Proibido... Haven't heard it, though.

Metro "Deja-Vu" (Trama, 2002)
On this reunion album (which I don't think included their singer-gone solo artist Virginie) the remnants of Metro are joined and celebrated by younger artists such as Preta Gil and Otto, as well as old-timers like Jorge Mautner...

Hendrik Meurkens "Samba Importado" (L & R, 1989)

Hendrik Meurkens "Amazon River" (Blue Toucan, 2005)
A slew of heavyweight Brazilian jazz players -- including guitarist Dori Caymmi, percussionist Duduka Fonseca and album co-producer Oscar Castro-Neves -- back German-born harmonicat Hendrik Meurkens on this sometimes-lively exploration of Brazilian themes... Naturally, comparisons to two other Braz-oriented harmonica virtuosi come to the fore: like Toots Thielemans and Rildo Hora, Meurkens gets pretty mellow, but he also plays it fast, and in both cases comes up against the limitations of his instrument... (Slow sounds gooey, fast a bit goofy...) Nonetheless there are some elegant numbers, generally the vocal tracks, where the harp fades from the lead and becomes more of an accent, and these are pretty nice. Overall, this style of jazz is way too soft for me, but Meurkens does a fine job exploring various aspects of the Brazilian sound, and works in a wide range of styles... Smooth jazz fans will find this album quite lovely.

Hendrik Meurkens "Sambatropolis" (Zoho, 2008)

Hendrik Meurkens "Samba To Go" (Zoho, 2009)

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