Tom Zé, Tom Zé (1970, Mr. Bongo reissue 2015). Second solo album, once incredibly hard to find and oddly never reissued outside of Brazil. This is far less krazee than the debut with a few frankly wacky workouts (“Guindaste a Rigor”) but more numbers with strange hints bubbling under careful structures (“La Vem a Onda”) and even gentle, pretty interludes (“Me Da Me De Me Diz”). Here’s Mr. Bongo’s take, which I do not agree with entirely. Except that it’s essential for even casual Brazilian pop fans.
Bossacucanova, The Best of Bossacucanova (Six Degrees) ((Not from Princeton Record Exchange)). How in the hell have I not heard of these three guys before? (Hmm. Seems Brazilian releases were all on different labels. I’ve ordered the live set that also includes a DVD of Bossacucanova jamming with venerable bossa stars still alive six years ago.) Short take — bossa nova alive and well and electronical. They do a fine job of explaining themselves. May have to do a piece on this.
Elza Soares, The Woman at the End of the World (A Mulher Do Fim Do Mundo) (Mais Um Discos, 2016 — German import). I admit it: my first response when I saw this was: “WOW! She’s still alive?” I knew she was an early bossa star but that was about it. Rumored to be in her mid-80s, Soares has been releasing records since the late 1950s and was long called “The Tina Turner of Brazil” because of her throaty, rich-wood voice. But also because she has a superlative knack for changing with the times. Here’s a review.Here’s another.And a third. All I can say is that I’m going to spend at least the rest of this year finding out a lot more about this performer and tracking down older material. A hidden titan.