Since I have a large collection of Brasilian discs & have heard what I consider to be more then enough to make a serious evaluation of some of the most important recordings of this culture & this era, I'll step in here & place a crown on this masterful achievement of artistry & excellence. If I were to have a top 20 of all time great recordings of the 70's, this would certainly be in the top 10. This is one of the most perfect LP's that I've ever heard. João's skill on the keyboard & his songwriting reach a milestone on this spectacular session. Considering that this artist was around in the pre-Bossa days of the late 40's like Jobim, Gilberto, Alf & Vinícius de Moraes, then this set was, let's say, 22 years in the making. Some artists put in many years to develop their craft to its fullest & that mastery is achieved here in a big, big way! Bravo to João Donato for this masterpiece of not only MPB, but of international Jazz of this era.
I think this recording is that rare achievement of perfection only attained by a few people & perhaps only one time in their career. João has the most amazing phrasing that I've ever heard on any keyboard player. Melodies like gems. Perfectly formed & sparkling a light that can only come directly from a divinely loving heart. This artist is blessed with a gift & he's freed his talent to a place of unparalleled beauty. Artistry should cause us to be in awe of it's magnificence & this one does!
Please listen carefully for João's mastery of the piano & his nimble touch & impeccable phrasing. I give this my highest rating that I could bestow on a recording. That's 6 stars of a possible 5. Magnificent!
File Under: MPB/ Brasilian Jazz
P.S. Flawless Japanese issue with heavenly remastering. Also, that's João on arrangement duties & he doubles on trombone as well on this beautifully embellished work. That's talent! Very nice guitar & bass work here, so listen to the warmth on those players too & that's Nãna Caymmi lending her lovely voice to track 11 "Mentiras". A lot to love here!
Also, if pressed to make a distinction about the various recordings before & after this MASTERPIECE, I would have to say that "A Bad Donato" [1970 Muse] is not as fully realized & not recorded in Brasil like this set & "Lugar Comum" [1975 Philips] is a bit overproduced & loses pace. This is his most focused set, but his composing talents are beautifully realized on both, Bud Shank & His Brazilian Friends [1964 Pacific Jazz] & Bossa Nova Carnival [1962 New Jazz/Prestige] Dave Pike plays the music of João Donato. Both are fantastic early examples of this genius. The New Sound of Brazil [1965 RCA Victor] is also very, very worthy.
Since I love Point/Counterpoint, I find that what João's doing here vocally to be much more fleshed out in the way of highlighting his outstanding gift for counterpoint phrasing then on "A Bad Donato". Nuff said.