ASTRUD GILBERTO feat. STANLEY TURRENTINE / “Ponteio”
Here are three radically different arrangements and performances of a Brazilian classic: Edu Lobo’s “Ponteio.” We’ll start with the most modern version and work our way back to the original. The first version is by BoL favorites Da Lata. These days, Da Lata is a well-established band known for their eclectic club/world style and their ever-revolving lead singers. But back in 1997 when they recorded their first single, “Ponteio,” Da Lata was fronted by Liliana Chachian, one of my all-time favorite voices from Brazil. Due to the combination of Liliana’s gorgeous, dusky voice and the throbbing techno-samba rhythms, Da Lata’s cover of “Ponteio” became an international club hit. Originally released as a 12” single, “Ponteio” never showed up on a Da Lata album, but you can pick it up from Amazon.com as a 99 cent download or on any number of compilations of progressive club music including Brazilian Love Affair 2. You may have noticed the saxophone solo at the end of the Da Lata version. It’s an unusual choice for a club record, one that I’d bet was inspired by our feature cover of the week – “Ponteio” as performed by Astrud Gilberto along with tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. Like most of Astrud’s better work, “Ponteio” is a mellow and sophisticated piece of music. Neither Astrud nor Turrentine seem to be trying very hard, but in this case, their lack of exertion works to their—and our—benefit. This version is available on the 1971 CTI LP Gilberto With Turrentine. Last is the original. Edu Lobo is one of the leading composers and performers of the second-wave of bossa nova. If you listen to any classic Brazilian pop, you’ve likely heard some of his compositions. As Edu performed it, “Ponteio” is most notable for its ever-shifting, almost orchestral arrangement. It’s often said that late sixties and early seventies Brazilian pop owes a lot to the Beatles. That certainly sounds true in this case. With its extended intro, unusual instrumental touches, extensive vocal multi-tracking and dynamic ending, this tune has ‘White Album’ written all over it. Edu’s “Ponteio” is available on his 1970 LP, Sergio Mendes Presents Lobo. —Mtume ya Salaam Ahhhh Brazil Mtume, as you well know, Brazil is the second deepest part of my overall music collection after jazz. I don’t claim to have it all but I have a lot of it, a whole lot. So, I was intrigued when you dropped three versions of Edu’s “Ponteio.” The song wasn’t even on my radar in terms of favorites but when I searched my collection I came up with three other versions which, reflective of my interest in the nexus of jazz and Brazil, feature jazz-oriented takes on the song. Irio De Paula is an outstanding acoustic guitarist. One of the major contemporary Brazilian songwriters noted that most Brazilian songs were guitar based as opposed to USA songs that were piano based. (I forgotten who and also forgotten where I read it.) The songwriter’s point was that guitar-based music seemed to be more voice-oriented than piano. Well, Irio’s acoustic guitar solo version certainly does seem to sing even though it is an instrumental. Irio’s technique is impeccable without being flashy. He never seems to be showing us all that he’s got yet it is clear he has a symphonic command of the instrument both in terms of tone and texture as well as harmony and rhythm. I particularly like his sense of dynamics; his music breathes, swells and ebbs. Plus, this is a concert recording (Jazz-Samba Ao Vivo). Irio’s cover of “Ponteio” is a high wire performance without a net—no in-studio multiple takes until you get it just right. Irio is working totally, beautifully in the moment. Paulinho Garcia and Grazyna Auguscik are a duo that bridges continents. Guitarist and vocalist Garcia is from Belo Horizonte, the capital of the interior Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. He moved to the USA in 1979 and has had a very successful career as both a performer and as a producer of commercials. Vocalist Grazyna Auguscik was born in Poland and attended Boston’s Berkelee School of Music. Their duo work has the ease and languid flow of the best of Brazilian music. This selection is from their April 2000 release, Fragile. Mauro Senise is a Brazilian saxophonist/flautist who is one of the leading jazz talents of his native land. This version of “Ponteio” is from the tribute album Casa Forte – Mauro Senise Toca Edu Lobo. It’s upful, happy-voiced, dancing music. Senise’s nimble flute work perfectly suits the exuberant, fast-paced arrangement. Collectively, these versions of “Ponteio” not only demonstrate how jazz has had a major influence on Brazilian music, they also demonstrate how Brazilian music has greatly enriched jazz, giving the genre a broader palette of rhythmic and melodic colors. —Kalamu ya Salaam
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