I played this song on a gig recently, but the lead sheet the bandleader gave me had only the melody and a few wrong chords. The drummer and I had to improvise our own accompaniment based on dim memories of Wayne Shorter’s version on Native Dancer. Milton Nascimento’s lovely melody has been stuck in my head since then, so I spent some time getting to know it better. This chart also leaves some things out (e.g. the acoustic piano part), but it gives a better idea what the band is doing.
I had some unexpected free time last week, so I decided to tackle a song that sneaks into my thoughts from time to time.
Egberto Gismonti is a prolific and versatile composer. A look through his extensive discography finds him playing rock, jazz, folk, chamber music and more. His 1991 album Infância is a collection of mellifluous pieces for cello, guitars (or piano) and bass. The music is sometimes somber, sometimes joyous, and always has a rhythmic flair that is distinctly Brazilian.
Here’s a basic version of a very pretty tune by Baden Powell. Of course sheet music can’t convey the tenderness and skill with which he plays it on guitar, but it’s been stuck in my head this week so I thought I’d share it with you.
Here’s another pretty song from Djavan, dedicated to his birthplace.
Here’s a funky tune from Djavan’s album Alumbramento. This may be the only pop song I know that never fully resolves the harmony. Every time it comes around to the G chord, the bass plays an F. Can you think of another song like that?
Last year on the site I used the month of March to focus on the blues in some of its different forms. I think this year I’ll be even more specific and feature the work of a single artist: Brazilian singer Djavan. He’s been putting out quality albums for over 40 years, and I hope he continues long into the future. His work reminds me in some ways of Stevie Wonder’s… a mix of funky pop songs and heartfelt ballads, featuring some interesting harmonic choices and always fronted by strong, mature vocals.
Let’s start near the beginning. This song is on his self-titled sophomore album from 1978. Its simple melody and danceable groove always put me in a good mood.
I first heard this fun samba by Manfredo Fest on a George Shearing record.