Founded in 1975, the acoustic group Galo Preto is considered one of Brazil's premiere choro revival bands... Featuring the talents of Jose Maria Braga (flute), Luis Otavio Braga (guitar), Afonso Machado (bandolim), Alexandre Paiva (cavaquinho), Mauro Rocha (guitar) and others, the band has set the bar for modern-day choro and performing with velha guarda artists such as Cartola, Nelson Cavaquinho, Elton Medeiros and Nelson Sargento, as well as others in the MPB mainstream. Here's a quick look at their work...
Galo Preto "Galo Preto" (RCA Victor, 1978)
(Arranged by Luiz Otavio Braga & Mauro Rocha)
Lovely choro revival music, including classics by Jacob do Bandolim, Pixinguinha and Ernesto Nazareth. This album shows some of the group's academic overtones, alternating at time between flowery lyricism and more precise, mathematical passages. Afonso Machado's bright, energetic bandolim work often shines, although Luis Otavio Braga's subtle guitar accompaniment merits close attention as well. This was their first album, recorded after several years jamming together and during a period when they were regularly performing onstage with samba legend Cartola. Nice stuff!
Galo Preto "Galo Preto" (Galo Preto, 1981) (LP)
Their second album features several original compositions by bandmembers Luiz Otavio Braga, Afonso Machado, Mauro Rocha, as well as tunes by Garoto, Jobim, Paulinho da Viola, and avant-jazznik Hermeto Pascoal. This album was self-released, and remains pretty hard to find.
Galo Preto "Bem-Te-Vi" (Leblon, 1992)
(Produced by Afonso Machado)
A sweet, sugary, elegant set of smooth choro instrumentals , with touches of acoustic samba, forro and jazz in there as well. Avant-jazz auteur Hermeto Pascoal plays piano on one song, and cellist Jaques Morelenbaum plays on a version of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Luisa"; other guest performers include accordionists Sivuca and Chiquinho Do Acordeon, as well as pianist Cristovao Bastos. This record may be a bit too restrained for many listeners, although the band is very highly regarded among the choro revival scene. Worth checking out, but pretty twee.
Galo Preto "So Paulinho Da Viola" (Leblon, 1994)
A tribute to samba/choro revivalist Paulinho Da Viola...
Galo Preto (with Elton Medeiros & Nelson Sargento) "So Cartola" (Rob Digital, 1999)
A live tribute album featuring some of the '70s acoustic sambistas who had worked with Cartola, and who co-wrote several of these songs. It's a sweet performance which takes a little while to gather steam. Initially things are a bit slow -- none of these fellers are as sprightly as they used to be, and the vocals are a bit slurred. But the band is solid, and Sargento's performance gains resonance as the show goes on. Nice stuff.
Galo Preto/Soraya Ravenle/Nelson Sargento "O Dono Das Calcadas: Nelson Cavaquinho" (2001)
Galo Preto "Nelson Cavaquinho Por Galo Preto" (IESA, 2001)
Galo Preto & Andrea Pinheiro "Diz Que Fui Por Ai" (2004)
Galo Preto "30 Anos" (Rob Digital, 2005)
Afonso Machado "Bandolim Do Brasil" (Rob Digital, 2004)
A pretty sugary instrumental set... About what you'd expect: high technical expertise, with somewhat goopy arrangements. Mandolin and acoustic swing fans may want to check this out...
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