Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sunday Strumming

Sorry, for the delay in posting. Life's been a bit hectic as of late, but I'm back home now and have a string of posts lined up that I hope to get online this week. Today we're gonna start with some recent acquisitions: Gabor Szabo & Luiz Bonfá. I'd also like to highlight some excellent independent record stores from whence I purchased these two items for very reasonable prices. I picked up the Bonfá at a shop in Hampden, a neighborhood of Baltimore, MD on a trip down to those parts earlier this week. The shop is called "The True Vine" and I suggest you pop in next time you pass through the Mid-Atlantic region. When I was there they had lots of new stock lined up on the floor. The condition of the records varied but the prices were very reasonable with lots of items going for three bucks (including the long sought-after Dave Pike album "Bossa Nova Carnival" from 1962 where he covers only João Donato tunes!)

The Gabor Szabo record I picked up at "Eat Records" in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The shop's been open for a few years now and sadly this was only my third time in there. They recently renovated and added more seating as it also doubles as a cafe. I was able to drink a beer while rummaging through their racks! The prices are about the best you can find for an actual store in New York City. The owner that I met is very nice and helpful, though they're working on organization as it can be difficult to find something if you're looking for a particular artist or album. Now on to the tunes . . .

Luiz Bonfá - Amazonas
I've been a fan of Bonfá since my early Bossa Nova obsession but lately I've been passing on his records because he's got so many albums and fast and furious guitar is just not really my thing. I picked this one up because it was an early collaboration with Eumir Deodato on arrangements. It was Bonfá who brought Deodato to the U.S. to do arrangements for his wife's, Maria Toledo, first U.S. release on Dot Records. So, Bonfá was an early champion of Deodato's and used him for arrangements on several later 60s sessions as well as on his sole funky album "Jacaranda"(thanks Loronix!). This is a short and sweet little track that I first thought was his take on the classic João Donato tune, but it's a Bonfá original with a nice little percussion break-down in the middle.

Gabor Szabo - Somewhere I Belong
This Gabor Szabo album is one of the few he did on Skye Records, a label he co-owned with Gary McFarland and Cal Tjader - what a chill record exec. lounge that must have been - that lasted only a few years as McFarland died all of a sudden (there's a nice article about him in a recent Wax Poetics). The album has lots of pop covers that are alright, but as soon as I dropped the needle on this last cut from the second side, I had to listen to the whole song right there. If this hasn't been sampled, then some producer out there needs to hop to it . . . so dark and moody and those drums have a really nice echo to them.

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