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Jair Rodrigues portrait Pop-samba singer Jair Rodrigues was a tireless performer whose reputation was made on television and in a series of mid-'60s concerts with jazz singer Elis Regina. Their popular variety show led to three albums (The Dois Na Bossa trilogy) that helped cement the incipient tropicalia movement, and propelled both Regina and Rodrigues into permanent national popularity. I don't know much else about him, other than that one of his later records, , is just stunningly gorgeous, and was one of the key albums that cemented my love of Brazilian music... Almost none of the other records I've heard by him have nearly as marvellous, but there are dozens more for me to check out, so I'm still hopeful. I'll keep you all posted.



Discography

Jair Rodrigues "Vou De Samba Com Voce" (Philips, 1964)


Jair Rodrigues "O Samba Como Ele E" (Philips, 1965)


Jair Rodrigues & Elis Regina "Dois Na Bossa" (Philips, 1965)
Jair Rodrigues & Elis Regina "Dois Na Bossa No. 2" (Philips, 1966)
Jair Rodrigues & Elis Regina "Dois Na Bossa No. 3" (Philips, 1967)

These three albums were spun off of concert and television appearances the two made as a duet (and which propelled them both to great fame). There is an appearance of youthful brashness here, but also a calculated, Vegas-y professionalism. The band, especially the percussion, is driving and aggressive, and the vocals get pretty flashy. One mild complaint: each of the Dois Na Bossa discs are pretty short -- it might be more satisfying (and more appealing) if Philips went ahead and edited together the best material into a single release.


Jair Rodrigues "O Sorriso Do Jair" (Philips, 1966)


Jair Rodrigues "Jair" (Philips, 1967)
A lively, swinging set, recorded at the height of his TV-related fame. Although the boss-jazz trappings of the Dois Na Bossa sessions is still in evidence, the mix also includes deep strains of samba and regional styles , and some dazzling instrumental flourishes. (Anyone know who the backing artists were?) One could argue that his work in the 1970s was richer and better, but this is still pretty good. His immense youthful energy is there, but the music never slides into a by-the-numbers routine -- everything sounds fresh on this one!


Jair Rodrigues "Menino Rei Da Alegria" (Philips, 1968)


Jair Rodrigues "Jair De Todos Os Sambas" (Philips, 1969)


Jair Rodrigues "Jair De Todos Os Sambas, v.2" (Philips, 1969)


Jair Rodrigues "Talento E Bossa Do Jair Rodrigues" (Philips, 1970) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues "E Isso Ai" (Philips, 1971) (LP)
(Produced by Manoel Barenbeim & Roberto Menescal)

Roots-samba given a glorious, wall-of-sound boost... Rodrigues sweetly croons, soars and showboats over a big, bright pagode-samba mix, with many of the top samba players of the era backing him up. Some tracks, such as the regional-flavored "Rei Pele Rei Luis" and the thunderous "Tengo Tengo" are stunning... Slower numbers, such as the schmaltzy "Margot De Tal" are less compelling, but still pretty good. A classy album, full of zest and life, and some totally killer percussion... Definitely Jair Rodrigues at his finest.


Jair Rodrigues "Festa Para Um Rei Negro" (Philips, 1971) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues "Com A Corda Toda" (Philips, 1972) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues "Orgulho De Um Sambista" (Philips, 1973) (LP)
An absolutely gorgeous album of swaying, romantic sambas and saudades; this was the first Brazilian records I ever bought, and remains one of my favorites. Indeed, this is one of the key albums that inspired me to dig deeper into Brazilian music. It is so good, and so sweet, I was always a bit sad that the other Jair Rodrigues albums I've heard were never quite as sublime. If you see this record, do not hesitate to snap it up. This is the 1970s roots-samba scene at its finest.


Jair Rodrigues "Dez Anos Depois" (Philips, 1974) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues "Abra Um Sorriso Novamente" (Philips, 1974) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues "Ao Vivo No Olympia De Paris" (Philips, 1975)


Jair Rodrigues "Eu Sou O Samba" (Phonogram, 1975) (LP)
A fun, funky set of uptempo samba material. Some of the poppy touches are less satisfying than others ("Sonhei Quando O Sonho Acabou") while others are simply stunning ("Nao Pode"). Either way, this is a potent set, with Rodrigues at his creative peak. Even the slower songs are groovy. Recommended!


Jair Rodrigues "Minha Hora A Vez" (Phonogram, 1976) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues "Estou Com O Samba E Nao Abro!" (Phonogram, 1977) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues "Pisei Chao" (Phonogram, 1978) (LP)
(Produced by Armando Pittigliani & Roberto Santana)

A still-robust embrace of the contemporary samba scene, but with some creeping pop undertones; Rodrigues is still working with solid samba artists, but around the edges there are some edges being smoothed and melodies being flattened. There's also an intriguing dose of Northeastern regional music, as on the forro-flavored "Bejinho Na Boca" and "Pisei Chao"; students of Brazilian funk might also want to check out his thumping version of "Saga Do Negro," a groovy Marku Ribas composition. Overall, a pretty sweet record, with plenty of swaying samba rhythms -- worth tracking down!


Jair Rodrigues "Couro Comendo" (Philips, 1978) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues "Antologia Da Seresta" (Philips, 1979)
Disappointingly slushy arrangements, surrounding his otherwise commanding voice.


Jair Rodrigues "Estou Lhe Devendo Um Sorriso" (Polygram, 1980) (LP)
This album has some excellent roots-samba material, mostly uptempo dance songs with big choruses behind Jair's crooning voice, and plenty of tasty cavaquinho riffs. Some tracks are really dazzling, like "Conversa Fora," while others are a little gooier, and some, like "Falso Baiano," verge on self-parody. Mostly, though, this is another solid set from his best years.


Jair Rodrigues "Alegria De Um Povo" (Philips, 1981) (LP)
A solid samba-pop album. Includes (gosh!) a song written by and guest-starring soccer legend Pele. Nothing earthshaking, but it ain't bad.


Jair Rodrigues "Antologia Da Seresta, v.2" (Polygram, 1981) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues "Jair Rodrigues De Oliveira" (Polygram, 1982) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues "Carinhoso" (Polygram, 1983) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues "Luzes Do Prazer" (Polygram, 1984) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues/Various Artists "OBA OBA '84" (Maracana, 1985)
(Produced by Gianni Daldello)
(Artistic directors: Franco Fontana & Luzie Mathias)

This was one of a series of albums commemorating, I believe, a European carnaval show (held annually in Italy? anyone know more about it?) that brought Brazilian artists to the Continent. Jair Rodrigues seems to have been the headliner in '84, with Chico Buarque singing on one song and bandolim virtuosa Nilze Carvalho playing a couple of beautiful tunes. The spotlight was really on vocalist Eliana Estevao, though: she sings several duets with Rodrigues and with Buarque, as well as one solo... She's got an okay voice, and I'm guessing she was part of Rodrigues's stage show at the time. The arrangements are generally pretty cheesy -- standard-issue, synth-heavy soft-jazz/funk MPB typical of the era... Side Two of the album is taken up with a gigantic potpourri medley of the kind Rodrigues all-too-often indulged in... He also sings a couple of solo songs, though his vocals are kind of inconsistent, especially on the fast-paced medley track.


Jair Rodrigues "Jair Rodrigues" (Copacabana, 1987)


Jair Rodrigues "Jair Rodrigues" (Copacabana, 1988)


Jair Rodrigues "Lamento Sertanejo" (Copacabana, 1991) (LP)


Jair Rodrigues "Viva Meu Samba" (Movieplay, 1994)
(Produced by Getulio Jr., Gambier & Vagner)

I'm really just guessing at the date on this one, since it's (musically) about halfway between the early-seventies acoustic albums I love, and the later stuff with iffy pop production. This album literally straddles these styles, with samba songs which are good, but give glimmers of drekky pop to come.


Jair Rodrigues "Eu Sou... Jair Rodrigues" (Movieplay, 1996)


Jair Rodrigues "De Todas As Bossas" (Som Livre, 1998)


Jair Rodrigues "500 Anos De Folia: 100% Ao Vivo" (Trama, 1999)


Jair Rodrigues "500 Anos De Folia, v.2" (Trama, 2000)


Jair Rodrigues "Interprete" (Trama, 2002)


Jair Rodrigues "Nova Bossa Por Jair Rodrigues" (Trama, 2004)


Jair Rodrigues "Alma Negra" (Trama, 2005)


Jair Rodrigues "Em Branco E Preto" (2008)


Jair Rodrigues "Samba Mesmo, v.1" (Som Livre, 2014)
Nice acoustic-based samba ballads... Jair sounds old, for sure, but the music is sweet.


Jair Rodrigues "Samba Mesmo, v.2" (Som Livre, 2014)




Best-Ofs

Jair Rodrigues "A Arte De..." (Polygram, 2005)
This was originally issued in the 1970s as part of the incredible A Arte series... Wow. I bet this disc is really, really, really, really good.


Jair Rodrigues "Minha Historia" (Philips, 1993)
A fab, but way too brief, overview of his career. The tracks span 1964-84, and though sadly nothing from the sublime 1973 Orgulho de Um Sambista album is included, plenty of other nice stuff is. Probably the most intriguing track is the scat-styled "Deixa Isso Pra La," from 1964, which has a Ray Charles-y hipsterrific feel to it, similar to Wilson Simonal's stuff around the same time. Other more cabaret tinged material is also included, although it's his explorations of mellow acoustic sambas which really have the most appeal. This disc is long out of print, but worth looking for nonetheless.


Jair Rodrigues "Raizes Do Samba" (EMI, 1999)
An absolute delight! Although these are all later recordings, made for the Copacabana label between 1985-87, the old, mellow acoustic air is there. FUN stuff, with sweet vocals and delicate, beautiful, sambadelic arrangements. Definitely worth picking up if you get a chance!


Jair Rodrigues "20 Super Sucessos" (Polydisc)
This retrospective draws on later work on several labels -- EMI, Trama, Abril and others -- nothing to match the glory of his early-'70s albums, but nice enough, in a workmanlike way. Other than a brief flirtation with hip-hop production (ouch.), this is okay.


Jair Rodrigues "Serie Sem Limite" (Universal, 2002)


Jair Rodrigues "I Love MPB" (Universal, 2005)


Jair Rodrigues "Novo Millennium" (Universal-Mercury, 2005)


Jair Rodrigues "Obras Primas" (2007)





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