|Latin America: Reviews||
The Ipanemas - Samba Is Our Gift
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This is their third album on Far Out Recording following The Return Of The Ipanemas and Afro Bossa and it’s the best yet according to the label boss, Joe Davis. He’s the man responsible for their resurgence as it was his quest to track down the original album from The Ipanemas of the 60s. Again, like Banda União Black, 40 years on, we’ve lost some of the original members but none of the spirit.
The band are led by two of the innovators of the bossa, Wilson Das Neves (vocals/drums) and Neco (guitar) who went onto record with all the top players of the era like Chico Buarque, ‘Tom’ Jobim, Wilson Simonal and Elis Regina.
Your not going to have the benefit of hearing this at a beach bar on a sunny day with the girls and boys parading in their swimwear (not at the time of writing in the UK anyway), but ‘Samba Is Our Gift’ does set you up to get laid back.
Huge start with ‘Imperial’ on the ‘La la la la la larrssss’, you feel like Astrid is getting off that plane to have a holiday in a different world.
‘Mangue’ is a delightful lite samba-cancao (sung-samba) in the breeze with the gentle picking of Neco’s guitar. With the muted batucada, get ready for the “um, dois, três, quarto” and the explosion. Ah ha! it doesn’t come (Hey Joe, savin’ that one for the Spiritual South Remix?)
‘Samba Pra Mim Mesmo’ retains the mood but the tempo picks up at times like on ‘Treze, Trinta E Nove’.
All this Brazilian brilliance makes me regret not following last year’s resolution to learn Portuguese. We’re told in the sleeve notes that ‘Malandro Quando Vaza’ is a song about a conman and that Wilson only developed as a singer less than 10 years ago. You’d never guess from his performance here.
This being a Far Out Recording, you won’t be surprised to find Ivan (Mamão) Conti features throughout variously on drums, percussion and guitar. So whilst he puts himself about, you can feel something of that Azymuth vibe going on, where he’s done the arrangements, but it never overshadows ‘the gift’ of the samba. As ever, all the musicians are superb but you won’t fail to be impressed by the trumpet of Jesse (is that Jesse Sadoc?) and the Trombone of Vitor Santos (all the tracks but in particular, ‘San Roque’)
Talking of Jesse, ‘Valsamba’ is seriously percussive and even with the addition of a string arrangement sounds like a Collery brass band (albeit one in Rio). It takes you by surprise this one and it’s one for consideration to go into the next Hectic mix.
No Hectic gripes regarding the cover and the sleeve notes are excellent by Mr. Davis and DJ Cliffy (see Banda União Black).
If you need a samba gift, this is the album for you.
Reviewed: The Ipanemas - Samba Is Our Gift (Far Out Recordings) Cat. No. FARO 106 CD Release date: 01 May 2006
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