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Messias Santos Junior portrait Messias Santos Junior, aka Messias was an extraordinary Brazilian guitar player who worked as an arranger for Joao Gilberto, composed numerous songs and recorded a handful of lively solo albums in the 1960s before his untimely death. Here's a quick look at this elusive artist's work...


Messias "...E A Musica De Chico Buarque De Hollanda" (RCA Victor, 1967) (LP)
Here is an artist just screaming for digital reissue: Sao Paulo-based guitarist Messias Santos, Jr. was a remarkable stylist, rivaling Luiz Bonfa in his tonal richness and playful approach, although apparently he only recorded three albums before passing away at a young age. (Not sure of the details here: anyone have more info?) This was his first record, a tribute to the then-ascendant MPB auteur, Chico Buarque, who may have had a hand in the recording itself, or at least an advisory role: he's pictured on the cover with Messias, so at least they met. This album isn't as layered or complex as the his Jobim album of the following year (below), sounding more like a stripped-down version of Buarque's own albums. But it's still nice stuff in a basic pop-instrumentals style. Of the sidemen listed on the album, the one I'm most curious about is a pianist identified as "Laercio" -- could that be Laercio de Freitas, by any chance? Whoever he was, he was pretty good.

Messias "O Melhor De Antonio Carlos Jobim" (RCA Camden, 1968)
Groovy guitar interpretations of the great bossa nova standards... Messias has a richly inventive, intricately baroque style that obeys the melodic templates set by Jobim, but warps the rhythm and tempo, producing very interesting results. These are fascinating "new" instrumental versions of songs you're heard a thousand times before... He is accompanied by a small combo, sometimes with orchestral parts, but mainly percussion and a sweet flute which often takes the lead (allowing Messias an opportunity for some very sly, intricate work on rhythm...) No personnel info, although I'd guess there's some overlap with the band from the Chico Buarque album of the year before.

Messias "The Sound Of Bacharach" (RCA Victor, 1969) (LP)

Messias "The Bossa Nova Guitar Golden Album" (RCA Victor) (LP)

Messias "The Great Hits Of Bossa Nova Guitar" (RCA Victor) (LP)


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