Sambista Joao Nogueira (1941-2000) was one of the great samba-MPB songwriters of the 1970s. Nogueira rose through the ranks of the samba school composers, and at the dawn of the decade broke through with a series of songs recorded by stars such as Alcione, Elizeth Cardoso, Beth Carvalho, Clara Nunes and Elis Regina. He started recording as a solo artist mid-decade and became a national favorite in years to come... Here's a quick look at his career...
Joao Nogueira "Brasil's Best" (BMG/Ariola, 1993)
Early '70s pop-samba. Nogueira barely gets mentioned at all these days, and mostly just as a songwriter. But these tracks are wonderful, full of gorgeous melodies and those irresistable, sweeping samba back-up choruses. Ignore the hideous album art; this disc is highly recommended.
Joao Nogueira "Serie Raizes Do Samba" (EMI, 1999)
Joao Nogueira "Serie Gold" (Universal, 2002)
Joao Nogueira "Serie Millennium" (Universal, 2002)
Joao Nogueira "Clube Do Samba" (Box Set) (Universal, 2000)
A 4-CD collection of several early '80s albums: Clube Do Samba, Boca Do Povo, Wilson, Geraldo, Noel and O Homem Dos Quarenta (reviewed above). This set was issued in memoriam, following Nogueira's passing in 2000.
Joao Nogueira "Serie Focus" (BMG/Ariola, 1999)
Joao Nogueira "Serie Sem Limite" (Universal, 2002)
A fine, 2-CD best-of set, with thirty tracks total... Good chance to check out his work for Polygram/Polydor...
Joao Nogueira "Retratos" (EMI, 2004)
Joao Nogueira "A Arte De Joao Nogueira" (Universal, 2005)
Joao Nogueira "Eu Sou O Samba" (EMI, 2005)
Joao Nogueira "Maxximum" (Sony-BMG, 2006)
Joao Nogueira "Espelho/Vem Quem Tem" (Biscoito Fino, 2010)
Two early-1970s albums from a neglected figure on the Brazilian samba-pop scene... 1977's Espelho and his second album, Vem Quem Tem, from 1975, which is a very sweet, smooth offering from the peak years of the 'Seventies samba revival. Definitely worth checking out!
Joao Nogueira "E La Vou Eu" (Odeon, 1974)
Some of the stylistic touches are a bit old-fashioned or overly brusque... It's almost as if the coolness of bossa nova had bypassed Nogueira entirely, creating an odd combination of radio-singer pop-schmaltz and glitzy jazz-samba, similar to contemporary albums by Ivan Lins, Gonzaguinha or Joao Bosco... His vocals are a little stuffy, almost like Nelson Goncalves or Tito Madi, but some of the arrangements are pretty hip. Overall, this could use a little smoothing out, but it's still worth checking into... Nice debut, though it's not as pretty-sounding as it could have been.
Joao Nogueira "Vem Quem Tem" (Odeon, 1975)
(Produced by Milton Miranda & Renato Correa)
By his second album, Nogueira had found a much mellower, sweeter-sounding groove... More like the samba-pop smoothie of his later years. Nice record, well worth tracking down!
Joao Nogueira "Espelho" (Odeon, 1977)
Joao Nogueira "Vida Boemia" (Odeon, 1978)
Joao Nogueira "Clube Do Samba" (Polydor, 1979)
(Produced by Paulo Debetio)
Like many of the best pagode artists, Nogueira's albums have a tendency to feel a bit the same... Great, joyous music, chugging along at a perfect tempo, with flawless musicianship throughout. That's what this disc is like: very sweet, very good, and easy to discount because it seems so familiar. But it's a goodie.
Joao Nogueira "Boca Do Povo" (Polydor, 1980)
(Produced by Paulo Debetio)
If I had to recommend just one Joao Nogueira album, this might be it. Here he glides up from the typical acoustic pagode arrangements, building a sound which sparingly incorporates funky, earthy outside influences without resorting to any of the cliches and mannerisms of the then-dominant MPB scene. Rootsy yet modern, and a very vigorous, enjoyable album. Highly recommended!
Joao Nogueira "Wilson, Geraldo, Noel" (Polydor, 1981)
(Produced by Homero Ferreira)
A tribute to three samba legends: Noel Rosa, Wilson Batista and Geraldo Pereira. Oddly enough, it's here that the temptation to go "pop" starts to arise... This disc has more overt jazz and pop influences -- nothing hideous, by any means, but definitely a noticible change of tone. Still, it's a good record, also notable for a booming duet with Alcione, on Noel Rosa's "De Babado."
Joao Nogueira "O Homem Dos Quarenta" (Polydor, 1981)
(Produced by Paulo Cesar Pineiro & Joao Augusto)
Nogueira settles back into standard mode for this straightforward set of good old-fashioned acoustic pagode. No surprises, just lots of great music. Nice.
Joao Nogueira "Bem Transando" (RCA, 1983)
(Produced by Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)
One of Nogueira's glossiest albums, with glitzy, poppy arrangements and plenty of modern musical ideas. Too hurried and fancy-sounding for my tastes, although there are a couple of nice numbers that stand out, including the chorus-heavy pagode anthem, "Clube Do Samba," which features Martinho da Vila, and "Dois Dois," which has a children's chorus similar to that used on Caetano Veloso's "Ile Aye." Rafael Rabello plays guitar throughout -- this album may be too slick for many of us, but it's still packed with plenty of talent.
Joao Nogueira "Pelas Terras Do Pau-Brasil" (RCA, 1984)
Absolutely gorgeous! Nogueira takes the best aspects of early-'70s style pagode and samba cancao and just keeps perfecting them, over and over. This album starts off with one of the fullest and most beautifully recorded samba choruses, laid over a rollicking rhythm, and doesn't let the listener down afterwards, traveling in an arc towards several slower, super-sweet ballads which close things out. Not a bad track on here... highly recommended!
Joao Nogueira "De Amor E Bom" (1985)
Joao Nogueira "Joao Nogueira" (1986)
Joao Nogueira "Joao" (Ideia Livre/Polygram, 1988)
Joao Nogueira "Alem Do Espelho" (Som Livre, 1992)
(Produced by Tulio Feliciano & Jorge Simos)
An iffy later album, with somewhat bland, thin, popped-up arrangements, and fairly dispirited vocals. I suppose the compositions themselves are classy and well-wrought, but the concert album lacks spark... It's even a little embarrassing, in some ways, with the rinky-dink keyboards and goopy production. Not my cup of tea.
Joao Nogueira & Paulo Cesar Pinheiro "Parceria - Ao Vivo" (Universal, 1992)
Joao Nogueira & Marinho Boffa "Chico Buarque - Letras E Musica" (Lumiar, 1996)
(Produced by Almir Chediak)
Pianist Marinho Boffa joins Nogueira for a tribute to songwriter Chico Buarque that is the epitome of sleek MPB classiness. My initial reaction was to think, oh, this is too slick! but with repeated listens, this really grew on me... It's certainly stronger than some of Nogueira's later albums (as reviewed above), and is really quite good from start to finish. Numerous Braz-jazz and MPB lumiaries make guest appearances -- Leny Andrade, Lula Galvao, Marcos Pereira, etc., and the band includes Wilson Das Neves, Robertinho Silva and other top players. There is a certain sameness of tone that pervades, however, and only a few songs stand out with the same brightness and clarity that Chico invented in them (when "Quem Te Viu, Quem Te Ve" came on in the middle of the disc, with its tremendous and instantly recognizable melody, I realized how few of the songs stood out individually...) Still, it is a very nice album, and fans of the swankier end of the MPB style will not be disappointed by this disc.
Joao Nogueira "Joao De Todas Os Sambas" (BMG-Brasil, 1998)
Various Artists "JOAO NOGUEIRA: ATRAVES DO ESPELHO" (Sony-BMG/Jam Music, 2001)
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