Singer Tito Madi was one of the great romantic singers of the pre-bossa nova "radio singers" era, and one of the singers whose popularity remained steady during the bossa years. Here's a (very) quick look at his work...
Tito Madi "Serie Bis - Cantores Do Radio" (EMI/Copacabana, 2000)
Brazil's pre-bossa nova pop crooners are largely forgotten nowadays, since the newfangled music was so sexy, and also because much of the pre-bossa stuff was not necessarily top-flight. This 2-CD retrospective is an eye-opener: Tito Madi was a straight-ahead Sinatra-tinged pop crooner who later eased into a bossa tune or two. Fans of Dick Farney will find a kindred spirit in Madi. Plus, the bulk of these songs -- recorded in the 1960s and early '70s -- are quite nice. Madi's voice is even and unabrasive, he never slips into florid or sappy stylizations; likewise, the arrangements are understated and compelling. Definitely worth checking out. Apparently this is part of a larger series of old-school pop vocals and samba cancao reissues... Good luck tracking these discs down, but if I can locate more of them, I'll be sure to keep you posted!
Tito Madi "Recordings: 1957-1958" (Black Round Records, 2009)
Tito Madi "A Saudade Mata A Gente" (Continental, 1957)
Tito Madi "Chove La Fora" (Continental, 1957)
Tito Madi "Sua Voz... Suas Composicoes" (Continental, 1958)
A fairly sedate, old-fashioned album, with Madi singing his own songs (bookened by a couple of instrumental tracks, courtesy of bandleader Rafael Puglielli. Madi's crooning is classy; Puglielli's string arrangements are monotonous and unvaried. The only song on here with a different tempo is "Canto do Engraxate," an orchestral samba played at a moderate tempo with a full band -- other than that, it's strings, strings, strings and slow, slow, slow. This album is okay -- it's vintage Tito Madi, so fans should be happy to hear it, but it's a rather static set.
Tito Madi "E A Chuva Continua" (Continental, 1959)
Tito Madi "Quero Te Assim" (Continental, 1959)
Tito Madi & Nelly Martins "Encontro No Sabado -- Um LP Para Namorados" (Continental, 1959)
An appealing album of duets made with Nelly Martins, a sweet, Patti Page-ish, plain-jane vocalist from the radio-singer era. The two sound really nice together, and the arrangements, though fairly light, have a nice little bounce to them. Madi also sings solo on several songs, which is less fun, but still quite pleasant. Good stuff.
Tito Madi "Romance" (Columbia, 1960)
(Musical direction by Lyrio Panicali)
A deliciously drippy, syrupy record, with subtly hip, swinging arrangements... Rather Sinatra-esque (in a good way) and very enjoyable for those of us who are nostalgically inclined. Fun stuff!
Tito Madi "Cancao Dos Olhos Tristes" (Columbia, 1960)
Tito Madi & Ribamar "Carinho E Amor" (Columbia, 1960)
Tito Madi "Sonho E Esperanca" (CBS, 1961)
Tito Madi "Amor E Paz" (CBS, 1963)
A fun album, corny but also lightly swinging, with Madi fully embracing the bossa nova style, albeit with a big-band-ish brass section behind him, courtesy of Astor Silva and his band. Also in the mix is a cool acoustic guitar and light percussion. The repertoire includes several bossa-ish songs written or co-written by Madi, as well as a few bossa by Roberto Menescal & Ronaldo Boscoli, and a particularly nice version of Tom Jobim's "Corcovado." This is a nice record, definitely worth tracking down!
Tito Madi "De Amor Se Fala" (Odeon, 1964)
Tito Madi "Balanco Zona Sul E Outros Sucessos" (Odeon, 1966)
Tito Madi "...Em Nova Dimensao" (RCA Victor, 1968)
(Arranged by Mario Castro-Neves)
An elegant, mid-tempo pop-vocals set with a distinctly '60s (though not hippie-esque) vibe: think mid-decade Sinatra, with a bit of bossa nova guitar added on top of the rich, supple string arrangements. This shows a strong non-Brazilian influence, reflecting the studio sounds up North as much as it does the homegrown influences. And Madi is in fine form himself, a calm, confident crooner -- overripe, perhaps, but proud of it. Certainly worth a spin, although after a while the songs all start to sound pretty similar. Apparently this was the only album he recorded for RCA, which is a shame since their bright studio sound works well with his vocals.
Tito Madi "A Fossa" (London, 1971)
The first in a series of albums devoted to the "A Fossa" style, an exaggeratedly romantic lounge-singing style associated with a Rio nightclub called Fossa. Both Madi and his accompanists are given full reign to indulge themselves in lush, overly emotive performances. Madi actually sticks to a more reserved vocal delivery, while the musicians go on brief but persistent improvisational flights behind him. The formula is new on this album; they really get into at the series goes along...
Tito Madi "A Fossa, v.2" (London, 1972)
A ridiculously florid, shamelessly melodramatic set of crooning tunes; basically just Madi's vocals and a tinkling, wildly insistent piano accompaniment. Both elements are over-the-top and purposefully overripe. Includes a mildly intriguing version of Caetano Veloso's "Coracao Vagabundo," and lots of lush, romantic interpretations of songs new and old.
Tito Madi "A Fossa, v.3" (London, 1973)
Tito Madi "A Fossa, v.4: Cancao De Amor" (London, 1974)
Tito Madi "Carinho E Amor" (EMI-Odeon, 1976)
Tito Madi "Na Intimidade -- Ao Vivo No Inverno E Verao" (Continental, 1985)
Tito Madi "Quem E Da Noite, Canta" (3M, 1987)
Tito Madi & Doris Monteiro "Samba Cancao: Serie Academia Brasileira De Musica" (Sony, 1992)
Tito Madi "Tito Madi" (CID, 1995)
Tito Madi "Ilhas Cristais" (Dubas, 2001)
Tito Madi "Mestres De MPB, v.1" (Warner, 1992)
Tito Madi "O Melhor De Tito Madi" (CID, 1998)
Tito Madi "Nova Serie" (Warner, 2008)
Tito Madi "Grandes Vozes" (Som Livre, 2008)
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