It was singer Elba Ramalho who suggested that Zezo Ribeiro and Chico César should team up and work together. It proved to be one of her better ideas. Zezo Ribeiro is a guitarist from São Paulo who draws from the rich tradition of Brazilian music, with a strong preference for Brazil’s northeastern states. At a point during his younger years he drastically changed course. He left behind his studies of economy and everything else that promised him a quiet life to focus on studying guitar and Brazilian music. With guitarist Olmir Stocker he was invited to perform at the Montreal Jazz Festival, which opened many doors. Among which a corporation with the late master guitarist Raphael Rabello. His interest in jazz was given a boost when he got the pleasure to study with one of America’s top jazz guitarists, John Scofield. Meanwhile he gained another interest: flamenco music. He was given the opportunity to study flamenco guitar in Madrid, Spain, for two years. It may be clear that Zezo Ribeiro developed a unique style on the guitar. While accompanying, he’s most definite the guitarist with a strong Brazilian tradition. While soloing he shows the influences from the flamenco tradition. It works very well together. On his second solo album, Flamencando, he teamed up in quasi duets with some of the world’s better-known musicians, such as bassist John Pattitucci, saxophonist Eric Marienthal, vocalist Zé Renato, accordionist Dominguinhos, the great Dori Caymmi, flamenco bassist Carlos Benavent, singers Simone Guimarães and Elba Ramalho. And by mentioning Elba Ramalho, we’re back at the beginning of this story.
Chico César, the phlegmatic composer, singer and guitarist from Brazil’s state Paraíba is always in for trying something new. He accepted the invitation with his characteristic enthusiasm. We hear examples from the roots of Brazilian music. The first fruit of their collaboration is the title song of this cd, “Brincadeira,” music by Zezo, lyrics by Chico. It’s a xaxado, a popular dance from the inlands of the state Pernambuco, originated during the 1920’s. The song sets the tone for this wonderful cd. The two musicians on the acoustic guitar perform all music; Chico César is the vocalist. Only percussion is added by Guello. Next tune, “Veia,” is an ijexá, in which the African influence is very strong. The rhythm used for the capoeira dance is an example of this style. The friendly “Noites de Junho” is a xote, the dance that derived from Scottish influences. Chico describes the scenery in Brazil’s northeast during the Festas de Junho, or June Celebrations, the time of the year where people celebrate various saints by setting campfires, dance and music. Among the other featured styles we of course hear a samba, “Drible.” In “Oi, Sobrinhada,” Zezo takes the solo spot (accompanied by percussionist Guello), with a dazzling rasta-pé, another dance from the northeast, related to the forró. The côco is represented in “Baque do Côco” and “Por Causa de um Ingresso…” Another xote is the lovely “Um Sorriso Só,” a song you only can fall in love with. A few ballads and a pop song (that sounds a bit out of place) complete the repertoire. It’s a pity that the record label chose for a bonus track in the form of a remix of this pop song, “Vagabundeando.” It’s the only dark spot on this fantastic album by two musicians with a heart for tradition and a joy for music.
Zezo Ribeiro & Chico César
Nubenegra INN 1122-2 (2004)
All music by Zezo Ribeiro; all lyrics by Chico César, except where noted.
- Noites De Junho
- Oi! Sobrinhada (Zezo Ribeiro)
- Vagabundeando (Zezo Ribeiro)
- Lembrança Boa
- Baque Do Côco
- A Passagem Veloz Do Tempo (Zezo Ribeiro – Marly de Oliveira)
- Um Sorriso Só
- Por Causa De Um Ingresso De Um Festival Matou Roqueira De Quinze Anos (Chico César)
- Vagabundeando – remix bonus track (Zezo Ribeiro – Edson X)