Wednesday, December 31, 2008
New Heights of Record-Nerdery
Being a collector makes you do crazy things, like buy an expensive Japanese-only Live album by a group that you don't even particularly like just because it happens to have your all-time favorite Brazilian pianist on it. Yes, that's right . . . João Donato is playing on this 1970 live album recorded in Japan. I heard about this album from the man himself when I had the chance to interview him. He explained that Bossa Rio's regular piano player could not get a visa to play the 1970 Expo show in Japan and that Sergio Mendes (Bossa Rio's founder and manager) asked Donato if he would play the show. Knowing Donato, he was probably broke and looking for work, so he jumped at the gig. But step back for a second and consider that Donato is one of THE fathers of Bossa Nova and Sergio, surely, was an early fan and owed a great debt to the man and now he was playing nearly anonymous piano in Sergio's second-tier band.
Here we see Donato in the middle of the band, injecting his unique style of playing into any setting. I've picked three songs form this pretty-darn-nice Live album. Donato shines more on the second two, though this being a "pop" band, there was not much room for soloing. Though the story goes that the owner of Blue Thumb records signed Donato for an album based on his economic, yet moving playing from this performance. The resulting album would be his lone album on Blue Thumb, "A Bad Donato".
Bossa Rio (Featuring João Donato) - Irene
A fresh, bossa-fied take on the great Caetano tune that had been released within the year.
Bossa Rio (Featuring João Donato) - What a Pity (Que Pena)
A cool english language version of this classic Jorge Ben tune.
Bossa Rio (Featuring João Donato) - Quem Diz Quem Sabe
This is the lone Donato composition on the album and one of the only in songs in Portuguese.