But before we get into it, eagle-eared Hectic readers may recall that I got a little excited when Raw Deal played a track at the last ever ‘That’s How It Is’, ‘Barloventeno Blues’ by Frank Hernandez was an example of the early 1970’s style of Onda Nueva. It was a variation of the Brazilian bossa nova and the ‘New Wave’ became very popular in the early to mid 70s via a range of artists such as Tito Puente (Pueto Rico), Francis Lai (France), Nando de Luca (Italy) and Aldemaro Romero and Frank Hernandez (both Venezuelan).
However, the ‘holy grail’ was by the bossanova expert Luiz Eça and a special group of musicians from Brazil. Like the lost debut albums of The Ipanemas and Banda União Black, La Nueva Onda De Brasil was much sort after but it’s history is even more remarkable.
First of all, there is the “La Familia Sagrada” band including Nana Vasconcelos (Percussion), Claudio Roditi (Trumpet), Nelson Angelo (Strings), Mauricio Maestro (Bass), Joyce (Vocals) (coming to Birmingham’s mac this August) and Wilson Simonal!
The cover looks like a photo taken on a day trip to the seaside by the Brazilian cast of ‘Hair’. It gives you an intimation of the musical scope that Eça had in mind. More than just Nueva Onda, soundtrack or musical, Latin, jazz-rock or physedelic. Vampi Soul suggest it’s “The White Album Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 never recorded,” and I can’t better that.
And then there’s the music itself. The opener is a two-song medley with a ‘standard’ piano-led jazzdance part giving way to a slow reflective ending featuring fantastic harmonies.
Wilson Simonal sings the lead vocals on Jorge Ben’s ‘Pais Tropical’ which squeezes in a little of The Byrds and the JB’s horn section. All the horns are excellent, Roditi and Bill Vogel on trumpet, Jose Da Silva on trombone and Ion Muniz on saxophone — but Eça’s piano leads the band and there’s some great drumming and percussion.
Any album like this might take more than one or two listens. ‘Sa Marina’ and ‘Se Voce Pensa’ are a couple that wander in and out off the jazz club Radio 2 swing vibe and could have done with being longer workouts.
‘Juliana’ is like the Swingle Singers with a Latin fusion band. It’s strangely odd and, at the same time, all you’ve ever wanted. Similarly, ‘Please Garçon’ is sung in English and with its solo guitar and percussion it’s a bit out of place; a sort of odd Tunng.
More immediate tracks are ‘Atras Das Portas Da Tarde’ and ‘La Vamos Nos’ for the ‘jazz fusion’ choir and a version of ‘Sequestro’ which could easily be hi-jacked for some TV advert campaign. By the time they do ‘Yemele’, they’ve nailed it 100%.
The other strange thing is, not only did it take Eça eight years to see this album released after its original recording in Brazil, the sleeve notes tell us that when it was eventually released, it was on a small label in Mexico run by a local Hotel mogul! How strange is that? The idea was you could buy these recordings in the lobbies as ‘souvenirs’ of your stay in Mexico. Apparently, it wasn’t just Luiz Eça that was supported in this way as other artists you’ve never heard of from all over the globe got the same treatment. A compilation of the best of this material is planned for the future, but for now, get ya flares out and boogie to La Nueva Onda De Brasil. Dig it big time.
-Gerry Hectic, flyglobalmusic.com
Luiz Eça Y La Familia Sagrada-LA NUEVA ONDA DE BRASIL (1970)