Guitarist Lanny Gordin was one of the behind-the-scenes icons of the tropicalia movement, playing on key albums by Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. After this avant-hippie heyday, Gordin fell off the radar for many years, reemerging in the 21st Century to record a number of solo albums... Here's a quick look at his work...
Brazilian Octopus "Brazilian Octopus" (Som Livre/Fermata, 1970)
(Produced by Mario Albanese & Fausto Canova)
Despite the freaky band name, this is a pretty standard-sounding light jazz release, albeit with a lot of heavyweight players in the lineup: guitarist Lanny Gordin, Hermeto Pascoal, pianist Cido Bianchi, bassist Nilson da Matta, and others. Apparently they were assembled as part of a band that played a yearlong live gig at a factory that also liked to host live music events. The music is a mix of smooth jazz (occasionally verging on muzaky kitsch) and some Latin jazz touches, as well as pop-orchestral/spy-jazz material... There are some dark undertones, particularly some unresolved minor chord action in downward scaled string arrangements, and I guess musically there's interesting stuff going on here, but it's more of a cerebral, jazz-lover's thing than an overt wowzer of an album. Certainly for students of Brazilian jazz, this is a cool historical document; kind of easy on the ears as well!
Gal Costa "Gal A Todo Vapor" (Polygram, 1971)
This is probably my favorite Gal Costa album. A supple, gorgeous live album; one of the finest records of its era that I've heard. The first half features Costa's youthful, sparrowlike voice is at its softest and best, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar and the applause of her entranced audience. Midway through the album, a lively -- though slightly comedic -- Cream-like heavy rock/jazz accompaniment kicks in (an electrified Mr. Gordin?) while Costa keeps crooning away. This album features an excellent selection of early tropicalia and plaintive ballads -- altogether, a canny study in the stylistic range of MPB. Pretty cool. Definitely recommended.
Gilberto Gil "Expresso 2222" (Philips, 1972)
After returning to Brazil from his European exile, Gilberto crafted out this gem, one of his finest early albums, which includes Lanny Gordin in the rich musical mix. Most tracks draw deeply from the jazz fusion sound of the times, especially with the bouncy keyboards and light touch on the electric guitars. However, Gil starts the album out the other end of the spectrum, reaffirming his love of indigenous Brazilian music with a short track featuring the folkloric band, Pifanes de Caruaru... Also, his breezy, scatting version of the old hit, "Chiclete Com Banana" helped bring the music of forro legend Jackson Do Pandeiro back into fashion. A few tracks on here may get a little grating, but basically this is a joyous, boisterous, classic album. Nice stuff!
Vange Milliet "Vange Milliet" (1995)
The debut album of singer Vange Milliet... Lanny Gordin is among many of Brazil's most interesting musicians, including Itamar Assumpcao, Zeca Baleiro, Jards Macale, and Rita Ribeiro...
Lanny Gordin "Lanny Gordin" (Baratos & Afins, 2003)
Lanny Gordin "Project Alfa, Volumes 1 & 2" (2003)
Lanny Gordin/Various Artists "Duos" (BarraventoArtes, 2004)
Lanny Gordin "Lanny Duos" (2007)
Lanny Gordin & Kaoll "Auto-Hipnose" (2010)
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