All the Right Ingredients…
Malandro Records has done it again. Carlos Malta’s Jeitinho Brasileiro has all the right ingredients to please jazz and pop fans alike. Malta is known to many as “the man of 7 instruments.” When you hear Jeitinho Brasileiro, you will understand how true that statement is. Malta is a wizard whether playing the whole saxophone family or the flutes and piccolos.
Jeitinho Brasileiro is a collection of Brazilian classics aptly mixed with Malta’s own compositions. In addition to his masterful performances of Pixinguinha and João de Barro’s “Carinhoso” and Ary Barroso’s “Isso Aqui o Que É,” Malta also presents contemporary composers such as Caetano Veloso (“Luz do Sol”) among others. Whether with classic compositions or more recent music, as in the case of Guinga and Aldir Blanc’s “Exasperada,” the key element that grabs your attention in Jeitinho Brasileiro is Malta’s artistry and attention to alluring and appealing arrangements. Whereas “Carinhoso is more classic — the Guerra-Peixe String Quartet provides that early 20th century touch — “Camaleão” is more experimental and changing. Here Malta adds some vocal dubs and percussion to bring out a jungle-like beat. Just like a chameleon, Jeitinho Brasileiro also changes from track to track. Jane Duboc’s haunting vocals in “Luz do Sol” is ethereal. In contrast with that, “Luz da Lua” is soft and rich sounding. Having Nico Assumpção’s bass work in that song certainly adds to that deep sensation. Exploring the variety in several wind instruments, “Bagunçando o Meu Coreto” is a jovial and fun frevo supported by Malta’s own Coreto Urbano group. Giving continuity to the sounds of the northeast of Brazil, Malta then invites Lenine, one of Brazil’s leading song writers from the state of Pernambuco. With Jackson do Pandeiro’s “Morena Bela,” Lenine is joined by Pife Muderno, a group of percussion and flute headed by Malta himself. Lenine’s solo is tribal and intense. This is what Malta refers to as “jungle fife.” “Morena Bela” performance is simply outstanding. You will not be able to forget that song. Another remarkable number is the duet between Malta’s bamboo flute and Guinga’s guitar in “Exasperada.” The lyric guitar solo is enhanced by the anguished sounds of the bamboo flute. The result again is truly exquisite and touching.
Jeitinho Brasileiro is as rich and varied as Brazil. Malta is capable of presenting a diverse repertoire with ease and competence. He knows how to get the most out of his instruments, a trait only found in consummate performers.
You can also read my interview with Carlos Malta here (in Portuguese only). Malta talks about his career, this album and other projects. This album was originally released in Brazil under the title O Escultor do Vento.
Malandro Records MAL 71004 (1998)
- Carinhoso (Pixinguinha – João de Barro) w/ Guerra-Peixe String Quartet
- Paradindonde (Carlos Malta) w/ Marcos Suzano
- Luz do Sol (Caetano Veloso) w/ Jane Duboc
- Ponto de Bala (Carlos Malta)
- Luz da Lua (Carlos Malta)
- Camaleão (Victor Assis Brasil – Carlos Malta)
- Jeitinho Brasileiro (Ana Malta – Carlos Malta)
- Bagunçando o Meu Coreto (Carlos Malta) w/ Coreto Urbano
- As Três Moças (Carlos Malta)
- Folia de Formosa e Chapurí (Carlos Malta)
- Morena Bela (Jackson do Pandeiro) w/ Lenine & Pife Muderno
- Intuitiva (Carlos Malta)
- Mergulho da Sereia (Ana Malta – Carlos Malta)
- Exasperada (Aldir Blanc – Guinga) w/ Guinga
- Isso Aqui o Que É? (Ary Barroso) – Na Cadência do Samba (Luís Bandeira)
A modified version of this review first appeared in Luna Kafé, November 1998.