The jazz-oriented singer known as Miucha -- the older sister of legendary MPB composer Chico Buarque, former wife of bossa nova founder Joao Gilberto, and mother of pop phenomenon Bebel Gilberto -- has lived in the nexus of many of Brazilian music's richest achievements. As a child, she and her brothers sat in on the musical salons held by her parents, absorbing firsthand the music of Dorival Caymmi and others. In the 1970s, Miucha took up a musical career that led to a long partnership with composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, and later introduced her daughter to show business, taking her with her on tour when Bebel was still quite young. Miucha's style is very torchy and dramatic, but also controlled and refined... Here's a quick look at some of her work..
Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto/Miucha "The Best Of Two Worlds" (Columbia, 1976)
Standard-issue light jazz, combined with Gilberto's stunning soulfulness. Joao's second wife, vocalist Miucha, sings on a couple of tracks, and her contributions are -- frankly -- negligible. Getz, too, isn't exactly electrifying. But when Gilberto sings and plays guitar, this album lights up. Frequently overlooked and well worth checking out.
Antonio Carlos Jobim "Urubu" (Warner, 1976)
A swank, modernistic -- and somewhat cheesy -- collaboration between MPB legend Tom Jobim and arranger Claus Ogerman. Ogerman's string arrangements are slushy and florid; the last half of the record sounds more like a John Williams score than a bossa-pop album. Jazz bassist Ron Carter adds both class and fusion-y cheese to the proceedings. But, as with many of Jobim's records, not quite my cup of tea. This disc is noteworthy, though, for the song "Boto," which was the first recorded collaboration between Jobim and Miucha, and led to several other records (listed below).
Miucha & Antonio Carlos Jobim "Miucha & Antonio Carlos Jobim" (RCA, 1977)
Miucha & Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius De Moraes/Toquinho "Gravado Ao Vivo No Canecao" (Som Livre, 1977)
(Produced by Aloysio de Oliveira)
Cool concert album, conducted by legendary producer Aloysio de Oliveira. Lively but also a bit shrill, this gives a nice glimpse at some of Brazil's most charismatic performers... and for Jobim fans, it's a nice look behind the veil of his uber-artsy persona.
Miucha/Various Artists "Os Saltimbancos" (Phillips, 1977)
Miucha's famed brother, Chico Buarque wrote the music to this child-oriented show/play, and Nara Leao stars in the production, along with members of MPB4, Miucha and a rather young Bebel Gilberto (!).
Miucha "Miucha" (RCA, 1978)
Miucha & Antonio Carlos Jobim "Miucha & Tom Jobim" (RCA, 1979)
Miucha "Rosa Amarela" (BMG, 1978)
Miucha "Compositores" (Biscoito Fino, 2002)
An elegant collection of sweetly orchestrated, torchsong-y MPB ballads, including material by Carlos Lyra, Joao Donato, Tom Jobim, Francis Hime, Vinicius De Moraes and others; many of the songwriters honored on this album also contribute glowing testimonials to the strength of Miucha's oft-underrated vocal work. Guinga, Francis Hime, Jacques Morelenbaum and others provide restained, effective musical backup. If you like the swankier end of Brazilian pop, this is a fine album to check out.
Miucha "Miucha Canta Vinicius" (Biscoito Fino, 2003)
Miucha & Antonio Carlos Jobim "Complete & More" (3D, 2002)
Miucha "Outros Sonhos" (Biscoito Fino, 2007)
Miucha "The Best Of Live" (Music Brokers, 2012)
Miucha & Antonio Carlos Jobim "Focus: O Essential De..." (BMG, 1998)
A surprisingly strong disc. This CD collects the best material off of the three albums listed above. It features some of Jobim's most understated work -- perhaps not as sublime as his 1974 collaboration with Elis Regina, but certainly continuing along in the same vein. Miucha's vocals vary, but at her best she proves a very able, jazz-oriented vocalist -- imagine Maria Bethania without the stridency, or Gal Costa with more consistent delivery. Admittedly Miucha cannot muster the same power as any of the better-known MPB divas, but she does achieve a workmanlike grace, and is ably complimented by Jobim's pleasantly light touch. Miucha's teenage daughter Bebel chirps along on a version of Chico Buarque's "Calice," originally on the 1978 Miucha album.
Miucha/Tom Jobim/Vinicius De Moraes/Toquinho "Musicalmente Dallo Studio 3" (DVD) (1978?)
An hour-long, all-star concert filmed for Italian TV in the late '70s (October 18, 1978, to be precise, for an appreciative audience in Lugano, Switzerland...) The show was held in honor of songwriter Vinicius De Moraes, who acts as emcee, cigarette and bourbon both firmly in hand. The entire affair is a bit low-key and sedate, in part becuase of the demure studio audience, but also because Vinicius seems a bit detatched and diminished, not really cutting loose until the final medley. To his credit, Toquinho injects a fair amount of life into the show, even though Jobim and Miucha also both seem a bit uncomfortable and reserved. Still, what a great chance to see all this bossa-MPB heavyweights in action, and to hear them address the crowd in Italian, no less. Worth checking out, but don't get your hopes up too high. (On DVD, with subtitles in English, Spanish and Portuguese.)
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