25 October 2008
JOAO DONATO - A BLUE DONATO
Joao Donato from 1973-discovered and issued by Whatmusic in 2005
Joao Donato: piano / scat;Tita Lobo: viola / scat;Eduardo Lobo: drums;Edson Lobo: bass;Bill Horne: Mellophone;Edison Machado: drums;Ion Muniz: flute;Edson Maciel: trombone;Barnabé Ferreira: bass
Review edited from the sleeve notes:
Over thirty years ago, in 1973-1974, some high calibre Brazilian bossa nova musicians met regularly at Bill Horne's place in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro. Bill, a flute, flugelhorn and mellophonium Brazilian player, had a small recording studio in his penthouse in which he was the engineer. It was equipped with a 4-track recorder, a Steinway and a Fender-Rhodes piano.
João Donato used to hang out at Bill's place, often in the company of guitarist and singer Tita, drummers Eduardo Lobo and Edison Machado, bassist Barnabé Ferreira, flautist Ion Muniz and trombonist Edson Maciel, all of them highly recognized musicians in future years. The meetings were pretty casual: Donato would show up with some musicians, a jamming session would get started and a recording would come out of it. The creative environment was nurtured with good beer plus an unlimited supply of cafezinhos (portuguese for a small cup of strong sweetened coffee). Some musicians provided themselves with other "inspiring" snacks (like what Cuban musicians used to quite smokily call manteca, way back in the 1940's).
The musicians in these sessions showed an unlimited willingness to play their souls out. They created some intimate and spontaneous bossa nova which after more than three decades is to the ear what an aged Bordeaux is to the palate and the spirit.
Donato's love for jazz is evident throughout his career and all the more so in this particular album. Listen to "Sem Nome aka Mr. Keller» (Without a Name aka Mr. Keller), a trio number, perhaps a jam session, by Donato, Ferreira and Machado, in which the fusional character of his art is so much on the jazz side. Then the same trio extends to a quintet with Muniz on flute and Maciel on trombone to communicate their enthusiasm for McCoy Tyner's "Message from the Nile": we meet a Tyner bent Donato and experience how jazz prone Brazilian musicians can be, yet retaining their Brazilian roots. In Donato's "Tom Thumb" we see how an extremely soul tinged tune is bossa-novaed by the same group.
We are given two different versions of Herbie Hancock's "Mimosa": one of them by the trio made of Donato on piano, Tita on guitar and Eduardo Lobo on drums in which Donato and Tita scat à la brésilienne. The other purely instrumental with the trio and Bill Horne on mellophone. If you can decide which is the jazzier one of both bossa nova renderings, please write and tell us! We think both sit easily in the ocean of bossa-jazz music. An ocean for the special pleasure of bathing in or floating on unboundedly swinging music. Let this pleasure be yours.