A Concert Review
Some concerts are just not to be missed. When singer, guitarist and composer João Bosco is around, one knows one has to go! Brazil’s musical icon was on a modest tour in Europe, visiting the smart venues who booked him.
João Bosco de Freitas Mucci (1946, Ponte Nova, Minas Gerais) studied and graduated in Engineering, but music has been his main interest ever since he was a teenager. Although his first partner in crime was Vinícius de Moraes, it was with Aldir Blanc that his name gained fame. The fruits of this amazingly productive composers duo can be heard on the plentiful releases from João Bosco.
In 1983 he celebrated his 100th stage appearance with a solo concert in São Paulo. The event resulted in one of his landmark albums, João Bosco Ao Vivo: Centésima Apresentação. Over the years he started working with other composers, among which his son Francisco Bosco. On stage, João Bosco is always a joy to see and hear. His accompanying musicians are incontrovertible among Brazil’s best. This sold-out concert in Paris was no exception. João enjoyed the company of Nosso Trio with the addition of Armando Marçal. These musicians have been with Bosco for quite a while. Guitarist Nelson Faria, the master of the art, performs in perfect balance with João Bosco’s acoustic guitar. He was given respectful space to deliver enthusiastically received solos. Ney Conceição is another proof of Brazil’s amazingly talented bassists. His six-string electric bass has no secrets anymore, resulting in strong and very melodic accompaniment. Drummer Kiko Freitas is certainly among the most inventive drummers of Brazil. His skills are unique, surprising the listener with unexpected fills and thrills. The trio was extended by Armando Marçal. There are percussionists and then there’s Armando Marçal (1956, Rio de Janeiro). He’s also known as Marçalzinho or Armando Marçal Jr, since he’s the son of the legendary percussionist Mestre Marçal (from the Portela Samba School). Armando has the quality to listen to the music and at the same time adding perfect accents or spicing up steamy rhythms. His interacting with the fellow musicians is a joy to witness. He has worked with American stars like Pat Metheny, Paul Simon and James Taylor as well.
The repertoire of the almost three-hour concert was mostly chosen from Bosco’s most recent live recording Obrigado Gente!, alternated with a few standards. “Águas de Março” (AC Jobim), for instance, was performed in a beautiful João Gilberto-ish whispering way. Bosco’s interpretation of his own “Terreiro de Jesus” was among the best moments of the evening. The rendition of “Tarde” (Milton Nascimento – Marcio Borges) was also among the highlights as was “Linha de Passe” that featured a guest appearance by Paris based Raul Mascarenhas on the soprano sax.
It’s needless to say that this was a superb concert. In fact, you could watch a show like this five times, each time focusing on the unique talent of one of the musicians. A must-see.
New Morning, Paris
May 6, 2009