Back to Basics
Way back in 1964, trombonist Astor Silva (1922-1968), guitarist Daudeth de Azevedo (aka “O Neco”; 1932-2009), bassist Sebastião Marinho, drummer Wilson das Neves and percussionist Rubens Bassini (1933-1985) released an LP under the name of Os Ipanemas. The album was characterized by quite noticeable Afro-Brazilian influences. The basic styles, samba and bossa, were dressed up with African percussion and ditto vocal arrangements. The LP contains for instance one of the liveliest versions of “The Girl from Ipanema” (with a fantastic trombone solo by Astor Silva)… It appeared to be a one-time occasion. Until some 35 years later! That’s when Joe Davis, owner of the London based record label Far Out Recordings, discovered the LP during his stroll through second hand record stores.He was charmed by the music to such an extent that he called in the help from Ivan Conti (drummer from Far Out Recordings artists Azymuth) to find the band members of Os Ipanemas. Drummer Wilson das Neves was easily found and also guitarist Neco was there. The other band members appeared deceased. Joe Davis invited the surviving members to record a follow-up for the album from 1964. “The Return of… the Ipanemas” was released in 2001. The come-back was a success story for the label and three more albums were released. Que Beleza is the fifth album from the band since their resurrection in 2001. Guitarist Neco passed away shortly before the recording of this album. Reason enough to dedicate Que Beleza to the memory of the unsurpassed bossa guitarist.
On this album Wilson das Neves (Rio de Janeiro, 1936) reshaped Os Ipanemas with the help of José Carlos on guitars, Jorge Helder on bass, Vittor Santos (trombone) Ivan Conti on the drums and Ivan’s son Thiago Martins (percussion). Like the previous four recent releases, the music stays close to the tradition of the original band. It’s again a friendly mix of samba and bossa nova with (at moments folkloristic) African influences and jazz. Trombonist Vittor Santos (1965, Petrópolis, RJ) is one of Brazil’s most popular trombonists in both jazz and MPB. He sounds like the best possible substitute for the late Astor Silva. The same can be said about guitarist José Carlos. He has no trouble to transform his bossa skills into Afro-samba with the same flexibility as Neco. Together with the vocals of Wilson das Neves the band reaches the same colour as Os Ipanemas from 1964.Wilson das Neves (who, by the way, performed and recorded as drummer/ percussionist with a real “who is who” in Brazilian music), also proves to be a delightful crooner. Everything gets clear in the opening “Que Beleza de Nega”, immediately the most charming highlight on the disc. The following “A Cara Dele” makes clear how to interpret the African influences. This instrumental track relies on trombonist Vittor Santos, who gently solos over the deep African influenced percussion. On the next song, “Euê Ô,” we’re taken even more into the African Bahian (candomblé) tradition. Then we’re treated with another instrumental featuring trombonist Vittor Santos, performing a great jazzy bossa nova. One of the surprising guests on the album is singer Áurea Martins, whose matured voice fits perfectly in the repertoire. She’s featured on four tracks, including a most charming duet with Wilson das Neves on “Lembranças.” Other guests are Azymuth’s keyboardist José Roberto Bertrami and percussionist Zero.
The gentlemen from The Ipanemas take us back to the basics of the Afro-samba. It is as if time has stood still when you listen to this music. It’s not like a pedantic lesson in Afro-samba, it’s just the music these guys happen to make; straight from the heart and with an honest, sentimental dedication.
Far Out Recordings FARO15 (2010)
Total Time: 47’16”
- Que Beleza De Nega (Wilson das Neves – Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)
- A Cara Dele (José Carlos Batista dos Santos)
- Euê Ô (Wilson das Neves – Nei Lopes)
- Espelho d’Água (José Carlos Batista dos Santos)
- Olhando Três (Jorge Helder)
- Festa Indigesta (Wilson das Neves – Nei Lopes)
- Lembranças (Wilson das Neves – Kassin)
- Nega E Kota (Ivan Conti)
- Passa O Ponto (Jorge Helder)
- Traz Um Presente Pra Mim (Wilson das Neves – Cláudio Jorge)
- Eparrei (Ivan Conti – Thiago Martins)