• Interview with Cesar Camargo Mariano with Michael Bourne

    April 18, 2008. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Add new comment | Filed under: Jazz Alive


    I attended the BossaBrasil festival last night at Birdland, the first concert of the season celebrating bossa nova'’s 50th anniversary, although I don’t know if it qualifies as a festival because it really only featured two musicians -- pianist Cesar Camargo Mariano and guitarist Joao Bosco -- in an innovative combo, with Harry Allen on sax, Marcelo Mariano on bass, and Jurim Moreira on drums. Both Cesar and Joao are Brazilian legends, and are worthy of all the hype and praise. However the concert didn'’t necessarily make that point. There is no question that the show had some high points. Every moment that Joao Bosco played with Cesar and the band during the second half was captivating. He elevated the music to a spiritual level, and provoked the best out of his cohorts, especially from Mariano. But if anyone worships the early Cesar Camargo Mariano trio recordings of the 1960s (like I do) -- some of which features the radical and highly-advanced Airto on trap set -- the first 30 minutes of the Birdland performance might be a bit of a let down. The rhythm section seemed too docile for Mariano'’s energetic style, especially the careening left hand, his signature form of Brazilian boogie-woogie playing heard from his early releases. Harry Allen'’s sound came so close to Stan Getz, you could close your eyes and swear you were hearing those Getz bossa nova recordings of the sixties. Therein lies the problem, if you love bossa nova. Frankly, many Brazilians don’'t acknowledge those records as “real” bossa nova in the first place...

    If you want more insight into that last remark, you’'ll have to wait for my upcoming bossa nova documentary, “"50 Years of the Beat,"” scheduled to air on WBGO this June. I still highly recommend checking out the show at Birdland, running through the weekend, your chance to see two of Brasil's best in top form.

    In the meanwhile, click here to listen to a few Cesar Camargo Mariano'’s early recordings from the 1960s (which are extremely rare in the US), plus the riveting interview with WBGO’'s Michael Bourne. - Simon

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