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Booker Pittman portrait Jazzman Booker Pittman is perhaps best known as the father of Brazilian singer Eliana Pittman, although he had a long career in the jazz world, working as a clarinetist and saxophonist in several top orchestras during the big band era. In the late 1930s he moved to France and then to South America when he joined Brazilian bandleader Romeu Silva's ensemble. Pittman eventually laid down roots in Brazil and in his later years groomed his step-daughter for success in showbiz. His solo stuff is pretty hard to find, but here's a quick look at his work...


Booker Pittman & Dick Farney "Jam Session Das Folhas" (1961)

Eliana Pittman & Booker Pittman "Eliana E Booker Pittman" (Mocambo, 1962)

Booker Pittman "The Fabulous Booker Pittman -- The Number 1 Soprano Sax In The World" (Musidisc)

Booker Pittman & Eliana Pittman "News From Brasil: Bossa Nova" (1963)
An uneven set, but instructive... Eliana's voice is lovely and she is clearly more comfortable singing in Portuguese, but her dad keeps steering back towards North American-style jazz, which has a comparatively stiff feel. The album opens with a fine, fluid rendition of "Nos E O Mar," but it's followed by an awkward English-language duet on "It Don't Mean A Thing," where the Pittmans fail to connect in the Ella-Satchmo vibe they were aiming for. Halfway between the two are various tracks which split the difference, where awkwardness contends with sleekness. I'd be curious if anyone knows who the sidemen were on this set -- was it Brazilians having a hard time with jazz, or jazz cats having a hard time playing bossa? I'm guessing it was a mix of both, and if I track down more info, I'll let you know. Anyway, it's clear that Eliana had talent to spare, but about a third of the tracks on this album are negligible, just because of their clunky performances. Notable, though, for an up-to-the-moment repertoire packed with newly-minted bossa classics such as "O Barquinho," "O Passarinho" and "Vagamente." Worth checking out, for sure.

Booker Pittman "Booker Pittman + Sax Soprano = Sucesso" (Musidisc, 1965)


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