Marcos Valle`s recording career began in Rio, in 1963. In 1964, with his brother Paulo he penned, a song called Samba De Verão, and probably, financially never needed to work again. The tune quickly becoming a standard. Covered by fellow Brazilians such as Astrud Gilberto, Sergio Mendes, and Walter Wanderley. Translated as “Summer Samba” or “So Nice” it became a staple of Easy-Listening crooners, like Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis. Musically it was riffed on by Jazz greats, including Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Les McCann, and Jack McDuff. It continues to be versioned to this day. Diana Krall and Bebel Gilberto being two fairly recent examples.
As a result, Verve brought in the young Valles, as arrangers, session-players and composers. Milton Banana, Celia, Claudia, Deodato, Evinha, Tim Maia, Elis Regina, Sandra Sa, Emilio Santiago, Wilson Simonal, and Elza Soares, are just the names that I recognise from the endless list of their countrymen and women who queued up to record the brothers` compositions. Marcos played with the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim. He produced Joao Donato`s classic, Quem É Quem, and arranged and provided Fender Rhodes for Airto Moreira`s Touching You….Touching Me. His own 1973 LP, Previsão Do Tempo, featured backing by Alex Malheiros, Ivan Conti, and José Roberto Bertrami. The trio forming Azymuth, once the set was a wrap.
Marcos eventually fled Brazil`s military dictatorship, in the mid-70s. Lighting out for L.A. Hooking up with Leon Ware, for the latter`s two early `80s albums for Elektra. Collaborating on the timeless Rare Groove of Rockin` You Eternally. Pulling in cameos by friends, Airto and Flora Purim, for the sublime Somewhere. Returning to Rio in 1982, he released Estrelar. Marketed as an aerobics track – despite an LP cover depicting “playboy” Marcos lining up a table of colourful cocktails – it sold 90, 000 copies.
Then two years later he found himself without a label, when Som Livre “sacked” its entire roster, to focus on music for ads and TV. Marcos continued to perform and write, notably for global chart-topping Ricky Martin. But, disillusioned, he didn’t record again. Until meeting Far Out`s Joe Davis in 1996. Joe persuading Marcos back into the studio for Nova Bossa Nova, which, to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Far Out are reissuing late September. All of it played to analogue tape – none of it sampled- it was a labour of love on Joe`s part, and must have cost a fortune. Albums like this one don`t get made too often these days. Flutes, guitars, keys, percussion, reeds, and strings. Abandonu is a low-slung, slapped-bass relative of Afro / Cosmic hit, Mentira. Sneaky Moog squelches in amongst its Funk. Cidade Aberto works the ivories like Tania Maria`s London club favourite, Vem Pra Roda. Bahia Blue gyrates its hips provocatively, while a soprano sax snakes around, and Marcos` fingers summon a sunny, accordion-like melody. Berimbau variations quivering like wah-wah guitar. The title track could have been recorded anytime in Marcos` 50+ year career.
But there are concessions to the new, namely House. Nodding to The Good Men`s Give It Up, with its carnival whistles and Batucada fills (2). I picked a copy up from Mr. Bongo, on Poland Street, back in 1999. When I divided my record-buying between there, and Release The Groove. Between Mr Thing making the cross-fader sing, and Jean-Claude noodling on an imaginary bass. My main reason for doing so was Bar Ingles. Which went nicely with stuff like Kevin Yost`s Santana “homage”, One Starry Night. Freio Aerodynamico also seems to have endured, and could hold its own against any current dancing Ibiza-inspired 4 / 4.
You can pre-order a copy of the reissue here.
You can listen to a few of my favourite Marcos Valle moments here….
Marcos also marks this anniversary with a series of European dates, that will find him reunited with Azymuth.
Aug 30th – B.Leza – Lisbon, Portugal
Sept 1st – Festival Magia – Rotterdam, Netherlands
Sept 3rd – Porgy & Bess – Vienna, Austria
Sept 4th – Sala Apolo – Barcelona, Spain
Sept 5th – Bravo Cafe – Bologna, Italy
Sept 6th – New Morning – Paris, France
Sept 7th & 8th – The Hideaway – London, UK
1. Although it sold in such vast quantities, the 7 of Estrelar was still pretty rare / expensive when it was re-discovered and popularised outside of Brazil about fifteen years ago (by Jazzanova?). Before the track got comp`d countless times.
2. The Good Men sampled Brazil, Sergio Mendes` Fanfarra and Magalenha, for their rhythms. It might be well-cheesy now, but it was a favourite of Derrick May`s before it was TOTP.