About the songs:
1. Dá o Pé, Loro (Hey, Parrot! Give Me Your Foot).Note: Loro is the Brazilian nickname for a parrot. This tune composed by Guinga, has a rhythmic structure typical of the Baião. Baião, which comes from the Brazilian Northeastern region, is a combination of a hybrid modal melody with a distinctive rhythm. Despite its simple original melody, this song and its arrangement have quite a sophisticated harmony. The intro begins with a typical Northeastern Percussion Trio, consisting of the pandeiro (Brazilian tambourine), the zabumba, (flat bass drum), and the triangle. All of these instruments were performed during the recording of this album by Marcos Suzano, one of Brazil’s best - known percussionists. The contrast of the Brazilian Jazz rhythm section with a sophisticated Blues harmony creates an enthralling atmosphere.
2. Nó na Garganta (Lump in the throat) is also composed by Guinga. It contains typical traditional Choro elements in the accompaniment and melody’s rhythm as well as in the melody lines. On the other hand, the phrasing construction, chord and melody combination enriched with unexpected chord changes give this song a “Modern Choro" character. The main melody was performed on piano (Section A) and on guitar (Section B). This arrangement produced some changes to the original composition; mainly, in the melody’s rhythm.
3. Chora, Baião (Cry, Baião) I have recently written this song combining the typical melody construction of both styles: Choro and Baião. In the introduction, Rafael Barata on drums, and percussionist Marcos Suzano on moringa (a clay pot used as a percussion instrument), play eight measures of Maracatu, which is the Brazilian synthesis of these two binary rhythm styles. The rest of the song features a rhythm section using the triangle as the main percussion instrument. The melodic phrasing combines distinct Brazilian styles plus a touch of Jazz and the song is a tribute to my friend and great musician (saxophonist and flutist) Mauro Senise.
4. Você, Você (You, You), written by Guinga and Chico Buarque, is the only song in the album that includes lyrics. The lyrics express the feelings of someone suffering from the Oedipus Complex. The poetic beauty of the lyrics and melody are masterfully interpreted with precision by the vocalist Carol Saboya. The delicate melody and harmony are highly enriched with a taste of Toada, a slow tempo Baião, and some unique chords. In the arrangement of this song, I inserted excerpts from one of my tunes in the Interlude.
5. A Ostra e o Vento (The Oyster and the Wind) was composed by Chico Buarque for a movie with the same title. Originally, the song uses a slow tempo (4/4 time signature). I applied a completely different approach by recreating it as a Jazz Waltz, which reminded me of Jobim’s Double Rainbow. Carol’s vocals act as a solo instrument in some parts of the song. Additionally, Leo Amuedo’s guitar solo and the drums played with brushes create a rich jazz atmosphere combined with a sophisticated harmony created by the renown composer Chico Buarque who frequently uses unexpected harmonies and melodies in his songs.
6. Chicote (Whip) was originally written as a composition exercise while I was taking classes with one of my masters, the Brazilian composer Guerra-Peixe. The song has undergone various arrangements since its original recording back in 1977. I included this song due to the similarities in the harmonic style of the two composers whom I pay tribute to in this album. In the middle of this arrangement there is a typical Baião rhythm with a sequence of chords known as the Brazilian Northeastern Blues form that supports the piano and guitar solos. The use of the 4th chord type sequences during the solo section and parts of the tune, produce a very interesting contrast. Additionally, two short solo parts are performed by drummer Rafael Barata and bassist Jorge Helder.
7. Chorosa Blues. The Brazilian expression “Chorosa" denotes a woman who easily cries for non-important reasons. The word “Choro" means to cry, and in the music style refers to melodies that resemble crying, possibly influenced by the romantic melodies inherent in the waltzes. The Waltz became a huge success during the period known as the “Belle Epoque" during the second half of the XIX century. It was brought to Brazil by the Europeans and along with the African Lundu influenced the Choro style. I composed this song specifically for this album after deciding the repertoire I wanted to record. This piano solo piece combines distinct Choro melodies with jazz phrasing.
8. Gota d’Agua (Drop of water) is an outstanding tune by Chico Buarque. Its lyrics describe the experience of someone whose heart is one step away, “a drop of water" from overflowing with pain. In spite of the beauty of its lyrics, I created an instrumental version. It is not a Choro or Baião, but a distinct slow Samba Jazz typical of the “Beco das Garrafas," which became the home of Bossa and Samba Jazz during the 50’s and 60’s in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. It is performed by a quartet consisting of piano, guitar, bass, and drums.
9. Di menor (Underage). A fast tempo Choro composed by Guinga in collaboration with lyricist Celso Viáfora. The intro is performed by Marcos Suzano, who plays a solo on the pandeiro, a typical instrument used in Choro. Next the song takes on a unique style that combines Choro with Samba Jazz, an interesting fusion evidenced in the harmony, rhythm“licks," the melody and the arrangement. Only a composer of such caliber as Guinga could have created a piece using such a sophisticated harmony sequence, including diminished 5th and minor/major 7th chords. Furthermore, a sequence of rhythmic licks in the arrangement complements this unusual combination.
10. Catavento e Girassol (Windmill and Sunflower). This masterpiece composed by Guinga in collaboration with lyricist Aldir Blanc blends Choro and Bossa. Both lyrics and music would benefit from further research given its complexity and profound beauty. This song describes the dialogue between two people that in spite of their love for each other find it impossible to come together given their profound differences. Interestingly enough this song gained popularity despite the sophistication of both music and lyrics. This song introduced Guinga to Brazilian and international audiences during the 80’s and 90’s, and showcased his incredible talent. It is worth mentioning the elegant guitar solo performed by the gifted Leo Amuedo.
11. Morro Dois Irmãos (Rio's Two Brothers Hill). To wrap up on a high note, I present for your enjoyment a mysterious Toada with a slow tempo composed by Chico Buarque that pays tribute to the enigmatic and beautiful Rio de Janeiro’s Two Brothers Hill, that can be spotted from the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon. The atmosphere created by the interpretation of the song defies further explanation, and leaves you with …well, I would rather you indulge in it.
About the songs: