Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bola Sete - At the Monterey Jazz Festival


The late guitarist Djalma de Andrada gained the Portuguese nickname Bola Sete or ("seven ball" in English) for the single black ball in the game of billiards (not to be confused with the eight ball of pool) because he was the only black player in a Brazilian jazz group. Like many of his compatriots during the 1960s influx of Brazilian musicians to America, Bola Sete had roots in both Brazil’s European classical and African folk traditions. But he was also strongly influenced by jazz masters such as Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt, and especially Barney Kessel, and he developed a jazz-based, steely-toned acoustic guitar style. Bola Sete at the Monterey Jazz Festival captures a remarkable live set from 1966. Bola Sete’s love of jazz played a large part in shaping his career in the States. After he joined pianist Vince Guaraldi’s trio on the West Coast, he was heard by the great trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie in 1962. Gillespie raved about his Brazilian Afro-jazz fusion, and by the time the concert documented here took place, Bola Sete had formed his own combo. On this set, which features a medley of songs from the movie Black Orpheus and two original compositions, including an exquisitely Brazilian "Flamenco", the players catch fire. There is brilliant interplay among the guitarist and drummer Paulinho Da Costa, virtuosic on a range of percussion instruments that create a true street-samba feel; the sensitive bassist Sebastião Neto; and the audience, whose roars of approval create an ideal, Carnival-like excitement around the music. - from the cdcover

Nine months before a certain other guitarist made a huge splash at a Monterey music festival, Brazilian acoustic guitarist Bola Sete left his own mark on an American jazz audience still feeding its voracious appetite for all things Brazilian. To be sure, Bola Sete didn't sneak up on the American public quite like Jimi Hendrix did--after all, Sete had made waves as part of Vince Guaraldi's ensemble in the years leading up to this historic 1966 performance. The classically trained Sete wowed fans with a unique style that seemed to fall somewhere between Andres Segovia's elegance and Django Reinhardt's exuberance, a space not as wide as you might think. By the summer of '66, Sete had graduated to his own trio with bassist Sebastiao Neto and percussion master Paulinho Da Costa.The centerpiece of this performance is the three-song "Black Orpheus" Medley," but Sete adds a pair of noteworthy originals. "Soul Samba" has subtle blues inflections that remind you that Barney Kessel was the first jazz guitarist to catch his ear. "Flamenco" is a simply stunning solo performance that blends challenging chording with incredibly speedy single-note runs, and offers the most overt example of his comfort with the folk traditions of his homeland. At some points, he amazingly plays his own bass accompaniment to his upper-register notes. This long-overdue 2000 CD reissue fleshes out the original LP release by adding 4 minutes to the medley as well as 2 unreleased cuts (with poorer sound quality) from the show, including a bossa nova arrangement of Ellington's "Satin Doll." - by Marc Greilsamer, AMG

Artist: Bola Sete
Album: Bola Sete at the Monterey Jazz Festival
Year: 1966
Label: Verve
Runtime: 46:23

Tracks:
1.  Black Orpheus Medley: Manha De Carnaval/A Felicidade (Adieu Tristesse)/Samba De Orfeu (Luiz Bonfá/Antonio Carlos Jobim) 17:28
2.  Soul Samba (Bola Sete) 6:47
3.  Flamenco (Bola Sete) 8:32
4.  Spoken Introduction 0:39
5.  Coisa Numero Um (Clovis Mello/Moacir Santos) 5:01
6.  Satin Doll (Duke Ellington/Johnny Mercer/Billy Strayhorn) 7:56

Personnel:
Bola Sete (Guitar)
Sebastiao Neto (Bass and Percussion)
Paulinho Da Costa (Drums)

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