Pianist and composer Jose Briamonte worked as a composer and arranger on a variety of projects, ranging from Brazilian pop and samba-jazz to film scores and classical pieces. He was a prolific session player and bandleader for several major MPB stars, and recorded a number of his own albums, many of which could be considered part of the "easy listening" style. Here's a quick look at his work...
Sansa Trio "Sansa Trio" (Som Maior, 1965)
The first lineup of Briamonte's short-lived jazz trio, with backing by Benedito Pereira Dos Santos and Severino Gomes Da Silva on trumpet and Magno D'Alcantara, trombone...
Sansa Trio "Sansa Trio, v.2" (Som Maior, 1966)
A swinging bossa-jazz trio set, showcasing the brisk, bright piano of Jose Briamonte, along with a new line-up of Airto Moreira on drums, and Jose Ordonez on bass. A lively, cheerful record, with a relatively unhurried feel, compared to many of their bossa trio contemporaries.
Jose Briamonte "Sambeco A Musica De Briamonte" (RCA, 1969)
Kitschy pop-psychedelic-exotic instrumentals (with intermittent ooh-ahh vocal choruses) and a bit of a Young-Holt/cubano/boogaloo bounce. Pretty ephemeral, except that Briamonte was one of the most respected arrangers of the 1960s/1970s MPB scene. If you're an easy-listening buff, I'm sure this would be a real find... I wasn't really wowed by it.
Jose Briamonte "Briamonte Orchestra" (Elenco, 1970)
Embarrassingly kitschy easy-listening muzak from one of Brazil's best-known arrangers of the 1970s MPB scene. I'm sure that for some, this is a delicious "sound library" collector's item, but it sure sounds fluffy to me. And not "Brazilian" at all -- it has plenty of covers of then-popular hits such as "Airport Love Theme," "Everybody's Talking" and "What The World Needs Now (Is Love Sweet Love)." You see what I'm saying, right?
Jose Briamonte/Ritmos E Vozes "Agora E Samba" (EMI-Odeon, 1973)
A big change of pace for bandleader Briamonte, who'd mainly recorded goofy instrumentals before... Here, he dives into the '70s samba revival, with a lively set of rootsy pagode-style tunes. Vocals are provided by a perky mixed chorale named Ritmo E Vozes, a group with both male and female voices and a cheerful tone. They're not unlike Quarteto Em Cy and MPB4, but a bit more restrained and less flashy than those poppy ensembles. There's plenty of roots-samba records from this era that are cooler or more magical, but this is still a pretty good record. Definitely worth checking out.
Jose Briamonte "Momentos Romanticos" (RCA, 1982)
Jose Briamonte "New Age Brazil" (InterRecords, 2004)
Gee, sounds great.
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