Rubens Bassini Y Los Latinos — Latino Fantastico out now on Far Out Recordings

By 12 November, 2010

Far Out begin their classic re-issue series with a much sought after Brazilian rarity. Rubens Bassini was one of Brazil’s finest and most respected percussionists and a vital component of the original Os Ipanemas and Sergio Mendes’ Brazil 66, plus later 77 and 88 incarnations. This 1963 solo outing, originally released as a limited vinyl LP, is full of deep traditional African, Brazilian, Cuban and South American rhythms and moments of unexpected blissful folk and hypnotic psychedelia. Wind and strings provide unusual arrangements for Bassini’s pulsating bongos and endless exotic percussion to explode through. Featuring an all-star team of ’60s Rio players this vivid percussion dream can finally be heard in all its mythical glory.

Rubens Bassini is the forgotten percussion master of Brazilian music. While those he played with – including Wilson Das Neves and Sergio Mendes – rose to huge international fame Bassini’s solo recordings became rare mythical collector’s items. Rubens Bassini e Os 11 Magníficos’ 1964 ‘Ritmo Fantastico’ was re-issued back in 2002; however it’s this 1963 Latino Fantastico project with Los Latinos that is his true solo masterpiece.

While bossa nova exploded, Bassini continued to work Latin (especially Cuban) and African influenced rhythms to increasingly interesting effect. As will become apparent from the many Cuban rhythms on this set, one of Rubens Bassini’s major influences was the Cuban exile Mongo Santamaria who was based out of San Francisco (where from the early 70s Bassini became a fixture in the West Coast session scene).

The late 1950s and early 1960s was Bassini’s most fertile period as percussionist on endless Brazilian albums recorded in Rio including Sergio Mendes’ 1961 album ‘Dance Moderno’ that featured Bassini’s by now trademark bongos (Bassini would go on to record with Mendes’ world famous Brasil 66 as well as the later Brasil 77 and 88 bands). Following his two solo recordings Bassini joined the original Os Ipanemas line-up as percussionist for their now legendary 1964 CBS recording. Bassini played alongside Wilson Das Neves, Neco, and Astor Silva who combined rich African heaviness and tight Latin grooves to revolutionise often previously conservative Brazilian music.

And that’s where Rubens Bassini’s link with Far Out Recordings lies. One of label boss Joe Davis’ favourite bands, obsessed with his original copy of their ’64 LP, he brought the last two surviving members – Das Neves and Neco – of the original Os Ipanemas back together in 1999 to record ‘The Return of the Ipanemas’ 35 years after their debut. With 2010’s Que Beleza, Far Out has now released five internationally acclaimed Ipanemas albums and Davis’ attention was instantly caught by the opportunity to re-issue Latino Fantastico from the Ipanemas incomparable percussionist Bassini (who sadly passed away in 1985).

Far Out stay true to the original release with beautifully recreated artwork; all 19 tracks re-mastered from original tapes for a high definition sound; and Rubens Bassini’s original track-by-track sleeve notes describing the traditional rhythms and instruments.

You can get your copy of Latino Fantastico HERE.

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