Musical Snapshot III

It’s been a long time I don’t bring a musical snapshot. Actually, it’s been more than 5 months since my last one. Wow. Because of that, it’s kind of difficult to summarize everything I’ve been listening to. My addiction to jazz is getting stronger every day. I bought Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary (quite nice!). During my vacation in Brazil, I had the chance to buy quite many albums from brazilian artists. I also tried some african and mexican stuff. So, here it goes…


Shit, the list is so long that I don’t know where to start… Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Max Roach, Kenny Dorham, Ornette Coleman, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, … I’ve listened to more than one album with each of those guys. I have some special remarks though. Hubbard’s Straight Life album is just amazing (featuring an all-star band with Hancock, Henderson, Benson, Carter, and DeJohnette). I became a big fan of Joe Henderson after listening to his Inner Urge album – very Coltrane-ish. He even has the same sidemen than in Coltrane’s most famous albums: McCoy Tyner and Mr. Elvin Jones. Sonny Rollins’ Saxophone Colossus is a great album. I took some time to listen to Coltrane’s My favourite things some more times (this one only loses to A Love Supreme, my personal favourite jazz album). Ornette Coleman’s Tomorrow Is the Question! is quite interesting too. Got the classic Savoy Live Sessions of Charlie Parker, the roots of bebop (such Koko, Ornithology, and so on). Here’s the winners list:

  • Inner Urge (Joe Henderson)
  • Straight Life (Freddie Hubbard)
  • Red Clay (Freddie Hubbard)
  • Somethin’ Else (Cannonball Adderley)
  • My Favourite Things (John Coltrane)
  • Complete Savoy Live Recordings (Charlie Parker)
  • Saxophone Colossus (Sonny Rollins)


I’m from the most african state in Brazil. African culture is simply part of me. I listened a lot to two Richard Bona albums. Quite musical stuff. The afrobeat of Femi Kuti is really nice.

  • Tiki (Richard Bona)
  • Reverence (Richard Bona)
  • Shoki Shoki (Femi Kuti)


Federico was really kind and sent me some really cool initial references of Mexical music. This is just the beginning of my research on the mexican world.

  • La Sandunga (Lila Downs)
  • De México y del mundo (Chavela Vargas)


During my vacation in Brazil, I had the opportunity to buy quite many albums from brazilian artists. Got two new Mônica Salmaso’s albums. I’m a big fan of her. I finally managed to buy Max de Castro’s Samba Raro. This is one of the electronic music albums I’ve ever listened to. Really nice compositions, high quality arrangements. The latest Djavan album Matizes is quite boring. Carlinhos Brown’s A gente ainda não sonhou is cool. Highlights:

  • Céu (Céu)
  • Iaiá (Mônica Salmaso)
  • Noites de gala, samba na rua (Mônica Salmaso)
  • Samba Raro (Max de Castro)
  • Nêga (Luciana Mello)
  • A gente ainda não sonhou (Carlinhos Brown)

Musical Snapshot II

So, after almost 2 months since my first Musical Snapshot, I think it’s a good time to bring an update of what I’ve been listening to. In general, I’ve focused more on jazz artists.

I’ve been thinking a lot about some general aspects of music production nowadays. I have this feeling that the recent (good) albums have been failing (in different levels) on bringing a more emotional and deep musical experience. Today, most albums have this annoying super-high level of perfection. There’s almost no space for those wonderful little mistakes, improvisation, background noises, emotion, … When you listen to a jazz album from the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s, you have this feeling of a deep musical engagement from the musicians. The recordings were kind of noisy but very powerful. When I listen to some modern jazz albums, even with very good musicians, I have the impression that the technique comes first, nothing really groundbraking.

Another aspect that I’ve been thinking a lot is the use of electronic elements in music. Electronic music is cheap, it’s easy. In my opinion, there’s this natural tendency of electronic music to be shitty. The cultural relevancy of electronic music is undeniable. But not everything is music. This is why I tend to prefer artists who play with a band with real instruments instead of just a DJ. For entertainment, electronic music works fine most of the time but for listening, rarely. At least this is my experience.

Update: By all wrote above I do not mean that: 1) any jazz music is wonderful (independently of the period); 2) any electronic music is crap; 3) I’m a purist and only enjoy music with accoustic instruments; 4) I only enjoy the “old stuff”. My point about electronic music is that with very little effort and knowledge, you can come up with “something”. Culturally speaking, this is amazing (power to everyone to express themselves). However, musically speaking, this can be really bad in many cases. On music, what I really care is the “mood”, the “feeling” and the “truth” in it.


I have this long road ahead with the fundamentals of jazz. So, I’ve been choosing the “classics” to “understand” some of the major artists. Coltrane is still on the top of my favorites. I’ve listened to more than 7 of his albums. Wes Montgomery was a wonderful finding for me (I’ve listened to 6 of his albums so far). Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew” album is freakingly amazing. Here are some highlights (from the quite long list of albums I’ve listened to):

  • Blue Train (John Coltrane)
  • Bitches Brew (Miles Davis)
  • Full House (Wes Montgomery)
  • The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery (Wes Montgomery)
  • Alive (Chick Corea Akoustic Band)
  • Complete Live at the Five Spot (Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane)
  • Plays Duke Ellington (Thelonious Monk)

Funk and Acid Jazz

Following the acid jazz path, I’ve listened to 2 albums of The Brand New Heavies. Interesting stuff. On the funky front, I’ve tried some more albums of Earth Wind & Fire, Funkadelic, Parliament, Maceo Parker, and others. The Meters is really root-ish funk music. If you like funk, you gotta listen to some of their albums.

  • All about funk (The Brand New Heavies)
  • Spirit (Earth Window & Fire)
  • Funk Overload (Maceo Parker)

R&B and Soul

Not many news here. I’ve listened to 3 albums of Amel Larrieux. Good music, sometimes too “cheap”.

  • Infinite Possibilities (Amel Larrieux)

Brazilian music
I’ve been re-trying some old albums of Djavan. There are some recent albums that I don’t really enjoy but the older stuff is amazing. Specially “Luz”, “Coisa de Acender” and “Novena”. The new Maria Rita album “Samba Meu” is quite good (as usual). If you want to get a taste of modern samba, you should try it.

  • Samba meu (Maria Rita)
  • Luz (Djavan)
  • Clara Nunes (Clara Nunes)

Ongoing stuff

I’ve started a research on mexican and african music. My initial names on the mexican field are Lila Downs, Chavela Vargas, Lola Beltrán, José Alfredo Jiménez and other “ranchera” artists. On the african side, the initial ones are Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Thomas Mapfumo, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Richard Bona, Mulatu Astatke and others. I’m still “digesting” them. Soon, I’ll write a new Musical Snapshot with some comments and impressions about them. If you have suggestions, please let me know.

Musical Snapshot

I really miss the musician life I used to have in Brazil. In order to compensate that, I started a musical research some time ago. Actually, this is making a huge difference for me. I never thought I would miss music so much… So, here are the highlights of the tons of things I’ve been listening to:


I found a very nice old CDs store in Helsinki (I’ve heard from a friend that there are others). I’ve found many interesting albums there. For now, my main focus is on the work of John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Miles David and Charlie Parker but I’m listening to lots of other things as well. I really enjoyed albums of the drummers Max Roach and Roy Haynes. Next: continue the infinite and pleasant jazz research. :-)

  • A Love Supreme (John Coltrane)
  • Afro Blue Impressions (John Coltrane)
  • Money Jungle (Duke Ellington, Max Roach, and Charles Mingus)
  • Afro Cuban Jazz Moods (Dizzy Gillespie)
  • Shack Man (Medeski, Martin & Wood)
  • Out of the Afternoon (Roy Haynes Quartet)

Acid Jazz

I’m a big fan of acid jazz movement in general. I already have Jamiroquai’s discography but I wanted to have deeper view of the “big picture”. I’ve listened to The Brand New Heavies, Incognito, James Taylot Quartet, Jaga Jazzist, Jazzanova, Corduroy, and others. Looking forward to listen to Azymuth, Roy Ayers (one of the fathers of Acid Jazz!) and other cool stuff in the “acid” area.

  • Room at the Top (James Taylor Quartet)
  • Positivity (Incognito)

R&B and Neo Soul

I never really understood what soul and R&B were in practice. It always sounded to be too generic and umbrella-ish. So, I went through the discographies of some good modern artists in this field. Now I got a more clear idea of this whole R&B/soul thing. Special mention goes to Mama’s Gun (Erykah Badu): it’s one of the most “musical” (in the artistic sense) albums I’ve ever listened to.

  • Mama’s Gun (Erykah Badu)
  • Voodoo (D’Angelo)
  • Introducing Joss Stone (Joss Stone)
  • Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds, Vol. 1 (Jill Scott)
  • Like a Star (Corinne Bailey Rae)

Funk and P-Funk

I’ve been going through Earth Wind & Fire’s (EWF) and Funkadelic/Parliament’s discographies. It’s just amazing to listen to the roots of most of things we see today in the funky field. Interestingly, I watched documentaries about both groups and they don’t mention each other. It seems there are (kind of) three different “branches” in the funk history: James Brown’s, Funkadelic/Parliament’s and EWF’s.

  • All ‘n All (Earth Wind & Fire)
  • Maggot Brain (Funkadelic)
  • Mothership Connection (Parliament)
  • Live on Planet Groove (Maceo Parker)
  • Good Old Funky Music (The Meters)

Sertaneja and Caipira

I always try to keep prejudice away when the subject is music. In Brazil, the sertaneja music has become too superficial, crappy and commercial in most of the cases. The fact is that the first albums of those famous sertanejo artists are quite nice. They still have some kind of connection with their roots. This is definitely the case of the first album of Zezé di Camargo & Luciano. It’s simple and “truthful” in a very interesting way. On the caipira music area, it’s always an intense experience to listen to artists such as Renato Teixeira and Almir Sater. Next: Pena Branca & Xavantinho, Tião Carreiro, and others.

  • No Auditório Ibirapuera (Renato Teixeira)
  • Zezé di Camargo & Luciano (Zezé di Camargo & Luciano)
  • Sete Sinais (Almir Sater)

That’s all for now! I hope to come with new stuff very soon. :-)

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