Happy Jazz Radio’s Brazilian Mix| 23 July, 2010
In our constant search for new sounds and artists we always like to feature a few mixtapes on the site, provided by as wide assortment of musicians, DJs, enthusiasts and general interesting folk as we can find. Today’s no different. Adrian Leach and Mark Taylor have been DJing jazz, soul, funk and Brazilian music for many years now, and know most of the tunes that have been filling the dancefloors over the last 30 years. We though they seemed like good people so decided to ask them a few questions as well as getting an hour-long mix of some of their favourite Brazilian tunes.
How long have you been DJing for and what styles of music do you regularly play?
AL – I have been collecting black music since the age of 12 from 1980/81 onwards. My mother used to do the accounts and wages for certain shops and one of those was a record shop called Chequers in Lee High Road, Lewisham in S.E. London which sadly closed quite a few years ago. The owner, Terry introduced me to some import boogie 12’s and Jazz Funk that were current at that time. It sort of took off from there really. I was spending all my paper round money and working in a shop and basically buying a few things whenever I went there. The DJ’ing never really happened until I was much older but it has sort of gone hand in hand with the collecting since those days. Nowadays, the music I play can be from Jazz to Latin, Calypso’s, Ska, music from Africa, Jazz Fusion and Jazz Funk, Boogie, Disco, Brazilian and music from the Caribbean.
MT – Started as most youngster digging pop music, and then at 12/13 years old found myself paying more attention to black music. By 14 was following Northern Soul music mostly, and also copying the dance moves of the older soul boys at the weekly local youth club dance parties. I started spending my money on obscure soul 7-inch records, purchased from fellow collectors or specialist dealers.
I then started going to All Nighter/All Dayer Soul dance events soon as I was 16 and allowed to attend such events (officially All Nighters were 18 years of age or older, so I was always nervous of getting turned away at the door). After attending the Cleethorpes All Dayer at the Wintergardens for just over a year I managed to blag myself a spot upstairs in the smaller room spinning what was then new stuff, disco & jazz-funk releases (as opposed to Northern Soul music that was normally played at the Wintergardens). That was in 1978, and did that gig once a month for about a year. I then only took up DJ-ing again in 1992 when I was living in Amsterdam. Played at a club called Havana, and the night we ran was called ‘The Message’, spinning soul, funk, disco, jazz, latin & Brazilian music. In 1994 I began doing a radio show in Amsterdam called Westside 260, playing the same sort of music as in the Havana Club. So since 1992 have done radio and DJ gigs on a regular basis.
What drew you to using Brazilian music in your set?
AL – In mid 80’s London there were a lot of clubs and radio stations playing Jazz, Fusion & Jazz Funk. Along side that, you would hear some DJ’s play Latin and Brazilian music, so for me, I just liked what I heard and sought the music out to buy. There was not that much knowledge at that time about Latin and Brazilian music and items were scarce. Then a few dealers would travel to these countries and bring back some items that I was interested in. For me though, it all took off when I met Mark back in 1998. Mark was very well versed in Brazilian music and has taught me more than I could have hoped to have learnt. Also, the music has become more accessible via the internet so including good and relatively unknown Brazilian music into a set is easier. For a Jazz Dance set for example, a roaring Batucada or uptempo bossa always moves the feet of the floor. I have always found that wherever you play, you can include Brazilian music with a funk or soul sound too.
MT – As mentioned earlier I started with Northern Soul music, but within a year of attending All Nigher/All Dayer events most weekends I discovered disco and jazz-funk music. It was to me a revelation, and within 2-3 months had stopped buying Northern Soul music and started going only to Disco/Jazz-Funk events. Some of the records played by the more adventures DJs at these club nights were jazz-fusion tracks with a strong Latin or Brazilian vibe to them. Tracks by Airto Moreira & his wife Flora Purim, John Klemmer’s Brazilian LP, George Duke, Azimuth (Milestone releases). The track “Jazz Carnival” by Azimuth was such a massive hit on the underground dance music scene back then it actually got into the UK top 50 charts due to the amount of sales of the record.
I had always wondered some years later what other sort of music must there be from Brazil and South America, such as what stuff had Azimuth done before they signed with the American label Milestone in 1979. In the late 80s living in Amsterdam there were a few really good second-hand record shops. They always had music from all over the world, and a lot of the shops had record decks for you to go and play records on before buying. This gave me a great opportunity to discover good tracks on albums, often by studying who was playing on the album, producer involved, or just down to the fact it was a known label for releasing good jazz for example. Sometimes you’d hear about an artist, or a great track from somewhere, and having the option to go and check through albums myself in shops (rather than some guy behind a counter putting the record on) I discovered loads of new music from all over the world. I really got into seriously buying Brazilian music from about 1991 onwards. I started buying as well from specialist record dealers in the UK, often spending a fortune on rare obscure vinyl. I made my first trip over to Rio in 1994 for a holiday and to search for vinyl.
Were there any particular artists who had a huge influence when you started listening to Brazilian music?
AL – Quite a few to choose from here….Joao Donato, Marcos Valle and Azimuth spring to mind. Also a fan of Wilson Simonal – something about his voice and vocal expression that always drew me in. Then Mark introduced me to the work of Arthur Verocai, Hareton Silvanini and Noriel Vilela.
MT – Would be funnily enough American-released artists playing Brazilian type tunes on their albums, people like John Klemmer, Dave Benoit, Earth, Wind & Fire and George Dukes (Brazilian Love Affair LP). From Brazil itself (but still artists on American record labels), Eumir Deodato, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, Sergio Mendes and Tom Jobim. This was first introduction to the flavour of Brazilian music in 1979. In the late 80s I had my second wave of discovering new Brazilian music – to my ears anyway. I discovered artists such as Elis Regina, Milton Nascimento, Jorge Ben, Gilberto Gil, Joao Donato, Marcos Valle, Tania Maria, Ed Lincoln, Azimuth LPs releases before they went to Milestone in the States, samba and many Bossa Nova jazz groups. This second wave was what drove me to want to go to Brazil itself and dig that little bit deeper under the surface for even more music.
What do you think are the common elements that make it possible to mix Brazilian styles such as samba and bossa nova with jazz?
AL – There was obviously a massive influence on a lot of Brazilian musicians from the global Jazz players during the 50’s & 60’s. So when you hear Bossa Jazz from the late 60’s for example, it’s Jazz with that added bit of Brazilian spice. It’s basically the same instruments as a normal Jazz quartet / quintet but with a unique drumming pattern. Also, the feeling from the players is different but it’s just as pleasing to the ear alongside Jazz from anywhere else in the world.
MT – BALANCO (rhythm)…..LOL!
Brazilian music is infused with it, and the quality of musicianship in Brazil is second to none. If you’re listening to forró, bossa nova, gafiera, MPB, samba – it all swings in that unique Brazilian way.
Right, two questions regarding your Brazilian crate. What is your favourite Saturday night record?
AL – Oh WOW! Toughie that….Going to go with Marcelo’s “Algo No Ar” from his self titled LP. An uptempo boogie tune with Fender Rhodes – perfect for dancing.
MT – Damn, that’s a tough one!!! So many great tunes to choose from…
I’ll go for something that you could safely drop the needle on the record and just play the album to get the party moving: Banda Black Rio – “Gafieira Universal”. If people can’t move to this then they are dead from the waist down….hahaha
And your favourite Sunday morning record?
AL – Without a doubt, the Arthur Verocai LP on Continental. That’s just a beautiful LP.
MT – Arthur Verocai again (Continental Records 1972 – Gatefold Sleeve).
There are only a few albums I’ve purchased in the last 35 years that upon putting the record on the deck I’ve got chicken skin (goose bumps) upon hearing the music. There are individual tracks naturally that do this, but only a few albums where almost every track is great. Arthur Verocai’s self titled album from 1972 is such a case in point…
I was not aware of this LP when I picked it up in 1999/2000 in Rio, hardly surprising considering how rare the original vinyl is to find in Brazil itself, virtually unknown inside, and especially outside of Brazil before the American LUV N’Haight release. I was already aware of Arthur Verocai from work he had done on other peoples records, as an arranger and producer, so upon seeing some of the musicians playing on this his self titled LP, it was not difficult to take a chance on this album.
Where can we currently find you guys? What shows are you working on?
AL – Gig wise, there is nothing on the horizon. We have both had enjoyable nights in Trondheim (Norway) and Oviedo in Spain this year. And of course, we are continuing with our Happy Jazz show that goes out once a month via www.radiopellenera.com, www.radio42.com, www.danceandsoul.com and at www.mondomedusah.com. And there are a few guest mixes available at www.yourfriendorfoe.com, www.waxingdeep.com and www.sofrito.co.uk.
MT – We find the UK scene a bit flat at the moment to be honest, prefer the gigs in Europe when they appear. I shall be playing at the ‘Runaway Love Weekender’ in Asturias, Northern Spain in mid September. I am also busy working with a Japanese DJ friend on making re-edits of disco, soul and Brazilian music.
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