Geraldo Azevedo is one of the best-known of the younger, modern artists from the post-tropicalia era to meld regional styles with a more international pop perspective. Before setting out as a solo performer, Azevedo worked as part of '60s protest singer Geraldo Vandre's backup group, Quarteto Livre, which also featured Nelson Angelo and Nana Vasconcelos. When political pressure brought an end to that band, Azevedo was imprisioned briefly, and after his release moved onto a fruitful partnership with Northeastern rocker Alceu Valenca, which brought both artists into the public eye in the early '70s. Azevedo's best work has a nimbleness and playful edge that can catch the imagination; he has worked both as an acoustic-oriented and electric artist, mixing frevo and other styles with pop arrangements. Here's a quick look at his recorded work...
Geraldo Azevedo & Alceu Valenca "Quadrafonico" (Copacabana, 1972)
(Produced by Rogerio Duprat)
There are quite a few recent reissues of lost "psychedelic classics" coming out of Brazil and the rest of South America these days... This is one of the stronger releases you'll come across, the debut album by two of Brazil's biggest "regional music" stars of the 1970s and '80s. Hailing from Pernambuco, Azevedo and Valenca worked for a few years together as a duo, performing in the popular song contests that many artists used to launch their careers back then. This disc shows them very much in debt to the avant-rock of the tropicalia crowd, even working with composer-arranger Rogerio Duprat, who adds the same sheen of highbrow avant artsiness (musique concrete, atonality, etc.) that he brought to seminal albums by Caetano Veloso, Os Mutantes and Gilberto Gil. There's also a rich strain of melodic acoustic-folk, with a distinctive regional flair. Both artists went on to record solo "debuts" that were less effective than this disc, but here there's a real magic, a skillful, challenging mix of both wild and understated... Nice balancing act, great record.
Geraldo Azevedo "Geraldo Azevedo" (Som Livre, 1977)
(Produced by Guto Graca Mello)
A beautiful solo debut, as grand and gently expansive as any of the other great post-tropicalia albums of the decade (such as Milton Nascimento's Clube De Esquina, Joao Bosco's early albums, or Caetano's more acoustic albums of the same time. Nice balance of orchestral and acoustic, introspective and anthemic, melodic and experimental. A little taxing in certain passages, but overall quite lovely. Recommended!
Geraldo Azevedo "Bicho De 7 Cabecas" (Epic/CBS, 1979)
Geraldo Azevedo "Inclinacoes Musicais" (Ariola, 1981)
A dreamy, inventive, exploratory pop album, with drifting, wispy vocals and baroque accompaniment... This is a lot like the stuff Lo Borges, Beto Guedes and Milton Nascimento record, except that, for whatever reason, I find Azevedo's version less wanky and easier to listen to. Nice record... recommended!
Geraldo Azevedo "For All/Para Todos" (Ariola, 1982)
Geraldo Azevedo "Tempo Tempero" (Barclay/Ariola, 1984)
Geraldo Azevedo/Elomar/Vital Farias/Xangai "Cantoria 1" (Kuarup, 1984)
Beautiful, relaxed live acoustic recordings by this informal foursome... The more upbeat numbers echo Gilberto Gil's acoustic improvisations, while the quieter numbers seem to draw on the Latin American "new song" movement... At any rate, these are gentle, stately performances, and well worth checking out.
Geraldo Azevedo "A Luz Do Solo" (Barclay/PolyGram, 1985)
Nice live acoustic album from a songwriter prominent on the northeastern rock and acoustic music scenes... Features guest appearances by Elba Ramalho and Ze Ramalho, on a couple of tracks that bookend the album sides. Nice stuff.
Geraldo Azevedo "De Outra Maneira" (RCA, 1986)
Disappointingly vapid, mindlessly perky pop arrangements throughout. There's nothing unpleasant on here, but it's kind of twerpy sounding, and a little too tinkly and bland to really sink in... Nana Vasconcelos pitches in on percussion, but the album is generally too unadventurous and commercialized to be very engaging. It's skippable.
Geraldo Azevedo "Eterno Presente" (BMG Ariola, 1988)
Geraldo Azevedo/Elomar/Vital Farias/Xangai "Cantoria 2" (Kuarup, 1988)
Geraldo Azevedo "Bossa Tropical" (BMG Ariola, 1989)
Geraldo Azevedo "Berekeke" (Geracoe, 1992)
Geraldo Azevedo "Ao Vivo" (BMG Ariola, 1994)
Another nice live album, capturing Azevedo in a sprightly acoustic performance. Some of the songs are zipped through rather quickly, they are almost notional, or simple reminded to the listener of older, well-known themes. The crowd responds quite readily, though, and their warmth and connection to the singer is what makes this disc seem so charming. By the concert's end, they are singing along in dulcet tones, a nice hint of the ardent devotion that Brazilian fans can offer their musicians. Nice record -- worth checking out!
Geraldo Azevedo/Elba Ramalho/Ze Ramalho/Alceu Valenca "O Grande Encontro" (BMG, 1996)
Azevedo joins fellow Northeasterners Elba Ramalho, Alceu Valenca, and Ze Ramalho for a stripped-down, all-star live performance.
Geraldo Azevedo "Futuramerica" (BMG Ariola, 1996)
Geraldo Azevedo/Elba Ramalho/Ze Ramalho "O Grande Encontro 2" (BMG, 1997)
Geraldo Azevedo "Raizes E Frutos" (BMG, 1998)
Geraldo Azevedo/Elba Ramalho/Ze Ramalho "O Grande Encontro 3" (BMG, 2000)
Geraldo Azevedo "Hoje E Amanha" (BMG, 2000)
Geraldo Azevedo "O Brasil Existe Em Mim" (Sony-BMG, 2007)
Geraldo Azevedo "Uma Geral Do Azevedo, v.1" (Geracao, 2009)
Geraldo Azevedo "Uma Geral Do Azevedo, v.2" (Geracao, 2009)
Geraldo Azevedo "Uma Geral Do Azevedo" (DVD) (Geracao, 2009)
Geraldo Azevedo "Salve Sao Francisco" (Biscoito Fino, 2011)
Geraldo Azevedo & Assuncao De Maria "Assuncao De Maria E Geraldo Azevedo" (Biscoito Fino, 2011)
Geraldo Azevedo "Serie Focus: O Essential De Geraldo Azevedo" (BMG, 1999)
Fairly tepid pop recordings from later in his career, 1988-97, when he was signed to the RCA label. The regional influences are still there, but the charm and sparkle of his earlier acoustic work is pretty much lost amid the generic pop arrangements. Underwhelming at best.
Geraldo Azevedo/Elba Ramalho/Ze Ramalho "O Melhor Dos Encontros" (Som Livre, 2002)
A best-of selection drawn from the three O Grande Encontro albums above.
Main Brazil Index