Brazilian Album Reviews

This is a listing of miscellaneous albums and artists under the letter "N"
If an artist or album you like is not reviewed here, please feel free
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Nacao Zumbi - see artist discography


Naire "Naire" (RGE/Fermata, 1974) (LP)
(Produced by J. Shapiro & Toninho Paladino, arrangements by Luiz Claudio Ramos)

Flowery soft-pop from one of the later entrants in the fabled Brazilian song competitions of yesteryear... Antonio Adolfo contributes sugary piano accompaniment, along with an all-star studio crew. Paulinho Tapajos co-wrote most of the music and sings two duets that bookend the album. In addition, florid vocal choruses and tweetling flutes a woven in as well. This is too gooey and occasionally bombastic for me, but on the positive side, it did sound different than a lot of what was going on at the time. If you want to mine deep into the reservoir of vintage Brazilian folk-rock, it seems like this disc might be of interest. My guilty pleasure on this one would have to be the song "Donzela," one of many written with Tapajos.


Dinho Nascimento "Berimbau Blues" (Tratore, 2004)



Joel Nascimento - see artist discography



Milton Nascimento - see artist discography



Ernesto Nazareth - see artist discography


Neco "Velvet Bossa Nova" (London, 1967)


Neco "Samba E Violao" (London, 1967)


Neco "Samba E Violao, v.2" (London, 1968)


Eliete Negreiros "Outros Sons" (Voo Livre, 1982) (LP)


Eliete Negreiros "MPB" (Pasquim, 1983)


Eliete Negreiros "Angulos: Tudo Esta Dito" (Copacabana, 1986)


Eliete Negreiros "Eliete Negreiros" (Continental, 1989) (LP)


Eliete Negreiros "Cancao Brasileira, A Nossa Bela Alma" (Camerati, 1992)


Eliete Negreiros "Dezesseis Cancoes De Tamanha Ingenuidade" (Eldorado, 1996)



Neguinho Da Beija-Flor - see artist discography


Nelsinho E Sua Orquestra "Nelsinho Espetacular" (Odeon, 1968)
Trombonist Nelsinho, a popular sideman in the 1960s and '70s, leads his own orchestra in a fascinating blend of easy-listening kitsch and much more robust big band samba/gafieira jazz, with nods towards contemporary composers such as Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil and Marcos Valle. Punchy brass, tweety flutes and a heavy rhythm section (punctuated by tubas and snare drums) cohabitate with street samba percussion and a playful, rock-tinged electric guitar. The silly elements and the traditional both sound good; I'm not normally much of a "lounge" fan, but this record strikes an interesting balance, revealing yet another shade of Brazilian popular music. Definitely worth a spin. (By the way, anyone know who was playing guitar? Maybe Waltel Branco? I'd be curious to find out...)


Bob Nelson "Vaqueiro Alegre" (Revivendo)
Great stuff! I'd heard that Brazil has a homegrown country scene, and here's an early forerunner from the 1940s... Singer-composer Nelson Roberto Perez (aka "Bob Nelson") was a radio star of the 1930s and '40s who worked with Carmen Miranda and in his own band, Grupo Cacique. He took up yodeling in the 1940s and had his first hit with a Brazilian-ized version of "Oh, Suzana," which is included in this compilation. Naturally, crazy traces of samba creep in around the edges, but sure enough this ten-gallon hatted "happy cowboy" has genuine hillbilly fiddle, accordion, and banjo pickin' to spare, and he yodels like there's no tomorrow. This is decidedly nutty, goofy, frivolous material... but the musicianship is also quite good! It's kind of like when Gene Autry or Roy Rogers did some Latin-American-tinged, polka-flavored number, except that this is coming at it from the opposite direction. Anyway, if this sounds interesting, but you're not quite sure, take my word for it: this is fun stuff! (PS - the only place I've ever seen this available is through the label. It's worth getting in touch with them to track this down.) One quick footnote: At least two Bob Nelson songs were recorded by bandleader Ze Maria in the 1960s, and '60s pop star Roberto Carlos was apparently a Bob Nelson fan as a child, and decades later recorded a tribute EP in 1974.



Nenhum De Nois - see artist discography



Netinho - see artist discography


Accioly Neto "Trancelim" (RGE, 1986)
Astonishingly bland, monotonous pop from a guy with an Abraham Lincoln-style beard and a really thin voice. It took me a while to realize that this was some sort of modernized, poppified forro... It's not very interesting, though.


Accioly Neto "Meu Forro" (Sony, 2002)


Bernardo Neto "Sumare" (1988)
An odd, wispy album, rather attenuated, wimpy MPB, along the same lines as Lo Borges or Beto Guedes, sort of a folkie-gone-synth-rocker kinda thing. I don't know much about this guy, other than this one record. It's mildly irritating in places, but mostly inoffensive and a bit windswept and wistful.


Jovino Santos Neto "Caboclo" (Liquid City, 1997)
The first solo album by multi-instrumentalist Jovino Santos Neto, a longtime veteran of Hermeto Pascoal's band. Light, breezy jazz, mainly built around tight piano-flute duets, with sympathetic accompaniment from a small jazz combo, and in large part a tribute to his mentor. Not really my cup of tea, but pretty solid for the style. I could certainly see how folks into the whole "dinner jazz" sound might like this. (For more information about Neto and his career, check out his website.)


Jovino Santos Neto & Richard Boukas "Balaio" (Malandro, 2001)
Mellow and accomplished acoustic jazz featuring original compositions by New-York based guitarist Richard Boukas and Brazilian pianist, Jovino Santos Neto. 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...


Jovino Santos Neto & Mike Marshall "Serenata: The Music Of Hermeto Pascoal" (Adventure Music, 2003)
Delving deeper into his love of choro, and of Brazilian jazz, Marshall explores the work of avantnik multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal, one of the most original and more challenging modern Brazilian jazz players. On the whole, I would say this set is far less "out there" than most of Pascoal's own albums, but the interplay between mandolinist Marshall and pianist Jovino Santos Neto reveals a strong intuitive link, both between the performers and the music they're tackling. Interesting album with some remarkable moments. Pascoal himself adds a flute solo to one track, giving the album that extra bit of authenticity...


Jovino Santos Neto "Roda Carioca" (Adventure Music, 2006)
A straightforward, all-instrumental smooth jazz set, with a solid Brazilian bossamba foundation... Pianist Jovino Santos Neto leads this lively set, with a top-flight cast of Brazilian jazz players behind him. A lot of this is too jazzy for me, but there are flourishes that stand out, such as Hamilton Da Holanda's swinging, choro mandolin riffs on "Gente Boa," and Joyce's guest vocals on the song, "Nana." Brazil's leading avant jazz artist, Hermeto Pascoal, also plays on one track (playing a chewing gum wrapper and a glass of water, among other things!) Mainly this is a showcase for Santos Neto's brisk piano work, which at some times if quite lyrical and at others is a little too rat-a-tat-tat for me. Most soft jazz fans will probably like this, though... Worth checking out, if modern Braz-jazz is your bag.


Jovino Santos Neto "Alma Do Nordeste: Soul Of The Northwest" (Adventure Music, 2008)
Jazz pianist Jovino Santos Neto delves into the music of Brazil's Northeastern region, home to frenetic styles such as forro music and the baiao. If you've ever wanted to hear the accordion as a lead instrument in a jazz context, then this disc will give you goosepimples of delight: in the album's first half, accordionist Toninho Ferragutti cuts loose with some fine improvisational flights, supported by the rest of Santos Neto's elastic, energetic band. The second half of the album gets into too much of a mainstream jazz mode for me, but the more "Brazilian" material is pretty exciting. Fans of either style -- forro or modern jazz -- will find a lot to appreciate here.


Jovino Santos Neto & Weber Iago "Live At Caramoor" (Adventure Music, 2008)
(Produced by Jim Luce & Richard Zirinsky, Jr)

Brazilian pianists Jovino Santos Neto and Weber Iago combine their talents for these crisp live recordings, both as solo performers and together, with accompaniment by saxophonist Joe Lovano. They cover the work of Braz-jazz touchstones such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascoal and Pixinguinha, as well as some of their own compositions.. What marks this disc, though, is its departure from the bedrock conventions of Brazilian bossa nova-ism; this is much more of a classical-meets-avant jazz recording, arch and erudite, with less appeal to the smooth-jazz set, and more to fans of Pascoal and the more challenging brand of Brazilian jazz. Worth checking out if you're into "serious" jazz.


Jovino Santos Neto/Various Artists "Veja O Som/See The Sound" (Adventure Music, 2010)
(Produced by Jovino Santos Neto & Richard Zirinsky, Jr.)

A 2-CD set, with one disc recorded in the United States and the other in Brazil. Jazz pianist Jovino Santos Neto jams with Brazilian greats such as Joao Donato, Monica Salmaso, Joyce Moreno and Paula Morelenbaum, as well as American players and Brazilian expats such as Paquito D'Rivera, Bill Frisell, Mike Marshall and Airto Moreira. These duets show Santos Neto's musicianship and affinity for his fellow musicians at its most stripped-down and basic; as someone who's not so keen on modern smooth jazz, per se, this less-conservative, back-to-basics approach is very much appreciated, bringing things back to composition and virtuosity rather than tonality and style. Worth checking out!


Alcides Neves "Tempo De Fratura" (AMUSP, 1979) (LP)
Profoundly irritating, pointedly experimental folk-prog MPB from this hippie-ish Cearan warbler. I hate his voice, and the meandering, erratic background music doesn't help, sort of a free-jazz-meets-regional-folk style with disorganized sub-Nana Vasconcelos percussion punctuating (or puncturing) some spacy flute-and-accordion noodling. It's all very intentionally irksome and challenging, which is all very well and fine if you're into that kind of thing, and have time in your life for it... Otherwise, you might not find this worthwhile. A curio that fits into the wider history of Brazilian experimental music, but ultimately with pretty limited appeal.


Alcides Neves "Destrambelhar Ou Nao" (AMUSP, 1983) (LP)



Wilson Das Neves - see letter "D"



Nora Ney - see artist discography


Nezinho De Oxala "Nezinho De Oxala" (Phonogram, 1977) (LP)
A great album. Although inspired by the Afro-Brazilian spiritualism of the Umbanda religion, Nezinho's sound is a smooth, sweet, soft mix of folky MPB and gentle '70s samba-rock... His vocals are freindly and soothing, perfectly matched by the catchy but subtle musical backing. A nice gem from the 'Seventies -- I'm not sure if he was affiliated with a particular terreiro, or if he recorded other albums besides this one, but this is a very sweet, listenable record. Recommended!



Dudu Nobre - see artist discography


Marlos Nobre "Concerto Breve" (Philips, 1975) (LP)


No Em Pingo D'Agua "Domingo Na Geral" (Lumiar, 2002)
Soft jazz with choro and samba undercurrents... Pianist Cristovao Bastos adds color and elegance to this already-mellow set. Smooth-jazz fans in search of new frontiers might really enjoy this one!


No Em Pingo D'Agua "Receita De Samba" (Visom, xxxxxxxxx)


No Em Pingo D'Agua "No Na Garganta" (Rob Digital, 2001)


No Em Pingo D'Agua "...Interpreta Paulinho Da Viola" (xxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxx)


No Em Pingo D'Agua "Joao Pernambuco" (Atracao, 2002)
With Antonio Adolfo...



Emmerson Nogueira - see artist discography



Joao Nogueira - see artist discography



Paulinho Nogueira - see artist discography



Noite Ilustrada - see artist discography


Marconi Notaro "No Sub Reino Dos Metazoarios" (1973)
Super-freakulent, electrified psychedelia spaceouts, weird stream-of-consciousness improv raga-rock, with plenty of fuzz, echo and distortion... Fans of early Tom Ze, Ze Ramalho, Os Mutantes, Lula Cortes, et. al. will probably dig this... Indeed, Cortes and Ramalho are on this album as well, originally issued as a private pressing from the trio's own label in Recife. The last track on the album is called "Ode A Satwa," in homage to their previous record, under the band name Satwa. Freaky and weird in a very good way. (Available through Time-Lag Records.)


Nouvelle Cuisine "e-Collection: Sucessos E Raridades" (WEA, 2001)
A rather odd, fish-out-of-water band... These guys are jazz-standards revivalists, sort of like a down-tempo, Brazilian Manhattan Transfer, playing material by Harold Arlen, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, George & Ira Gershwin, et. al., alongside homegrown Brazilian composers such as Dorival Caymmi, Carlos Lyra, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Djavan, etc., placing them all into a compact, though rather goofy , small-ensemble acoustic setting. Personally, I find it all far too precious and overly clever -- while not as acrobatic as the Brazilian vocal group Quarteto Em Cy, there's a similar willingness to draw attention to the group's technique and to their coy re-arrangements of well-known songs. I'm not fond of the mix, either: Guga Stroeter's vibraphone is far too dominant; the clarinet seems tacked on at times, and the band's lone vocalist, Carlos Fernando, seems singularly underwhelming, particularly when he sings in English, which is most of the time. Nonetheless, they were apparently quite popular in Brazil during the late 1980s, and there also seems to have been some connection with Marisa Monte... Personally, I don't get the attraction, but I wasn't there at the time, either... Maybe their shows were a lot of fun, or something.


Nouvelle Cuisine "Nouvelle Cuisine" (WEA, 1988)


Nouvelle Cuisine "Slow Food" (WEA, 1991)


Nouvelle Cuisine "Novelhonovo" (Eldorado, 1995)


Nouvelle Cuisine "Free Bossa" (YBrazil, 2000)



Novelli - see artist discography



Novos Baianos - see artist discography



Claudio Nucci - see artist discography


Bene Nunes "...E Seu Piano" (Continental, 1958)
A pianist and composer whose career spanned back to the 1930s, Bene Nunes composed several classics and was also known as an actor and as a close friend of Brazil's then-President, Juscelino Kubitschek. He was also the husband of singer Dulce Nunes, whose own work is reviewed below. Included here is his version of "Ho-Ba-La-La" (also recorded by Joao Gilberto) but, sadly, not a version of his best-known song, "Gostosinho." Alas.


Bene Nunes "Telefone Para 27-9696" (Odeon, 1968)


Bene Nunes "Teclado Fantastico" (Fantasia, 1968)
Singer Dulce Nunes is credited with co-composing one of these songs...



Clara Nunes - see artist discography



Dulce Nunes - see artist discography


Oswaldo Nunes "Oba" (1962)


Oswaldo Nunes & The Pops "Ta Tudo Ai" (Equipe, 1969)
A groovy set, wherein the rock chops of the punctuation-challenged jovem guarda band The Pop's are harnessed to the swinging multi-stylistic tornado of singer Oswaldo Nunes, an energetic, expressive performer who apparently died young, but recorded some neat material, including this intriguing album. Like Jair Rodrigues or Wilson Simonal before him, Nunes could be alternately explosive and schmaltzy; I enjoyed him in both modes. There are plenty of regional touches, including an undercurrent of forro and baiao, as well as old-school samba; hearing the crunchy, fuzzy electric guitars in the mix is a gas, and although the Pop's sound a little less committed to their chores as backup vocalists, this is a great record, one that'll get you up and dancing before you know what hit you. Definitely worth tracking down!


Oswaldo Nunes "Bota Samba Nisso" (CBS, 1970)


Oswaldo Nunes "Voce Me Chamou" (1971)


Oswaldo Nunes "Ai, Que Vontade" (1978)




Brazilian Music - Letter "O"



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