I cannot help but wonder how Minas has been able to keep a lid on its secret. Perhaps it is because this husband and wife duo is constantly busy touring the United States and Brazil. With appearances in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Recife and Belo Horizonte, Minas brings together a wealth of experience with the traditional Brazilian sound spiced with jazz influences. The result is cleverly showcased in Minas release, Blueazul.
This is Minas’s third release, and like previous works from the group, Patricia King and Orlando Haddad continue to explore the fruitful combination of their talents. Using his skills as an accomplished guitarist and singer/songwriter, Orlando draws from his native Minas Gerais to create compositions with a universal appeal. With Patricia’s keyboard and vocal artistry, the duo reaches sublime moments. In addition to Minas 7-member band, the group is graced with guest appearances by Cyro Baptista (percussion), Cid Teixeira (accordion), Nego Gato (percussion), Vanderlei Pereira (drums) and several other musicians.
Blueazul is samba, samba-reggae, bossa nova, afoxê and more. “Strong Black Coffee,” for example, is bouncy and perfect as your morning dose of good music. Minas actually presents that song both in English and Portuguese, a special treat for listeners, I might add. The ode to women from Orlando’s Minas Gerais, “Homenagem à Mineira,” is an afoxê praising the land and its people. Not only does this song exalts the women of Minas Gerais, but Orlando’s lyrics also give us a very comprehensive geography lesson about his home state. Nego Gato and Cyro Baptista’s percussion solos are especially stimulating. As fate would have it, the song got a lot of airplay in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais state capital. However, if upbeat music is not your favorite Brazilian style of music, kick off your shoes, relax and listen to the haunting melody and ethereal voice of Patricia King Haddad in “Only the Moon and the Stars.” This slow jazzy bossa nova tune is the type of song you can play over and over and not get tired of it. Believe me, I’ve done just that many times! Of course, John Swana’s flugelhorn solo throughout the song only enhances the beauty of this song. Swinging from bossa nova to choro, “Choro Siciliano” gets you to reminisce about Ernesto Nazareth, the Brazilian great master of chorinhos. Using a contemporary approach, this chorinho has Hendrick Meurkens’s harmonica in place of the traditional chorinho flute. The result is very satisfying and refreshing.
Blueazul is more than a combination of two words with the same meaning. It is the result of 20 years of composing, performing, and bringing together two worlds sharing a common passion for music. It is lively and meditative, fast and slow and, above all, pure listening pleasure.
You can read more about the artists and listen to their music at Minas.
Blue Azul Records OP 5356 (1996)
All tracks by Orlando Haddad and Patricia King.
- Y B More
- Strong Black Coffee
- Homenagem à Mineira
- Only the Moon and the Stars
- Jornada de Inverno
- Caravan Groove
- They Had to Wait
- Choro Siciliano
- Stronger from the Distance
- Saudades Não
- Café Forte (bonus track)
- Winter’s Journey (bonus track)
- Tive de Esperar (bonus track)
A modified version of this review first appeared in Luna Kafé, April 1998.