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João Donato

Arranged and Conducted by Deodato

João Donato

Ano: 1969
Selo: Muse Records


Side A
1. Whistle stop (Deodato, Donato e Barreto)
2. Where’s J.D.? (Deodato e Donato)
3. Capricorn (Donato)

Side B
1. Nightripper (Donato)
2. You Can Go (Donato)
3. Batuque (Donato e Deodato)


Eumir Deodato, keyboards
João Donato, keyboards
Randy Brecker, trumpet
Michael Gibson, trombone
Romeo Penque, flute & whistle
Mauricio Einhorn, harmonica
Bob Rose, guitar
Allan Schwartzberg, drums
Ray Borrego, congas
Airto, Misc. percussion
Arranged and conducted by Deodato

Produced by George Klabin
Recording: George Klabin (Sound Ideas)
Notes: Joel Vance

Production Coordinator: Becky Wisdom.
Original recording produced by Joe Fields Arranged and conducted by Deodato
Recorded March 26 and April 10, 1973

O que foi escrito sobre: João Donato (Arranged and conducted by Deodato)

João Donato

Like so many historical incidents, this álbum was almost accidental, an unforseen mixture of places, people, times and situations. In this case it involves the pope, the bossa nova and plane fare.

The fusion, almost by telepathy, of João Donato, one of “old masters” of Brazilian music, and Eumir Deodato, one of the “new masters” has its beginning in a recording produced by Creed Taylor a decade ago in a Washington D.C church. The session was with Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd.

It yielded “Desafinado” and started the short-lived and artificially inspired Bossa nova non-craze.

Get’z recording, and his subsequent work with João and Astrud Gilberto (like Antonio Carlos Jobim’s with Sinatra) was musically valid, but in the meantime the old-time pop music industry cranked up the last of its old-time campaigns – this to get Mr. and Mrs. America doing the “dance of love” (remember perky Eydie Gorme’s “Blame It On The Bossa Nova” with the Muzak organ riffs?). Pop music of the early 1960s was generally pretty dismal; labels and music publishers were glad to have what they thought was a sureshot hook to sell records and sheet music. After all, “Latin” music, in one form or another, had been good for fads since the 1920s; the bossa nova was a dance, like the carioca or the tango. It just might happen.

It didn’t. But the effects of the publicity surrounding the non-craze drew many of the finest Brazilian musicians to this country. Most of them would have come anyway because the horizons of musical success and national fame at home were and are limited. But the bossa nova non-craze seemed to be the signal that promised fame and opportunity in the United States.

Among the first to arrive were João Donato, Baden Powell, Luiz Enrique, Lalo Schifrin and Sérgio Mendes. The latter quickly converted his sound, weighing it heavily in favor of pop, while Donato and Pwell felt more at home with jazz. They were eagerly received by American jazzmen but the gigs were few. There wasn’t any long-term employment. So the New York-Rio de Janeiro shuttle developed; work here long enough to accumulate some money then return to Brazil to rest and refit.

The shuttle brought more distinguished Brazilians – the percussionists Airto and Dom Um Romao, the original drummer for Mendes. Airto was used by Miles Davis and the Mephistophelian-faced Romao now plays for Weather Report and has recently recorded his own album for Muse. Donato had, over the years, jumped from label to label, prolific in his tunes and brilliant in performance but never quite catching on commercially.

Meanwhile back in Rio de Janeiro, a youngster named Eumir Deodato was rapidly proving himself to be a facile and swingy keyboardist, writer and arranger. On a visit to the United States he was heard, signed and recorded by Creed Taylor for his CTI label. The album included the now-famous jazz version of 2001. But it had not been released at the time Donato and Deodato ran into each other in New York. They spent the evening goofing around and came to a remarkable agreement; they would collaborate on composing some new material. Donato was scheduled to do a date for Muse but he was anxious to get back to Brazil, so the “old” and “new” masters decided that Donato would go into the studio and improvise. Deodato would then build on Donato’s foundation by fleshing out the improvisations orchestrally. It was as if Donato had sunk the concrete and steel for a house and Deodato had built the wall and designed the rooms, even down to the furniture and wallpaper.

Deodato made another trip to Brazil and when he returned, the 2001 album was both a jazz and pop smash; but he remembered his agreement with Donato and set to work writing and arranging this remarkable album which mixes American Jazz, Brazilian rhythm, rock, funk and Latin.

Trumpeter Randy Brecker is one of the best of the young jazz horns, he has played with Dreams and, is presently touring with Horace Silver. Ray Barreto, one of the most influential and respected Latin band leaders, only occasionally makes sideman appearances. Airto top dressed the beat with his own unique Brazilian jungle approach. Rose, Schwartzberg, Bascomb, Gibson and Penque are all skillful and accomplished men some of Penque’s flute passages are delightfully pagan and might have come from Stravinsky’s The Rites of Spring.
But the special thread –the tickle of this album is the Brazilian rhythmic idea.

There are differences within what we call “Latin”. Latin music is usually considered to be of Spanish Extract, with Cuba the mother country of Latin rhythms. Cuban based music is a tissue of cultures: African, Spanish and native Indian. But there is little African input in Brazil; the population there is a basic mixture of Indian and Portuguese, semi-European. Though Spain and Portugal share the same peninsula they have seldom agreed about anything and they are not parallel cultures; if anything, they have been extreme rivals historically. It got so bad in the 1400s, when both were eagerly discovering and colonizing the West Indies, that the Pope of the day drew a line through a map of the then-known world, assigning all territories on one side to Portugal and the other to Spain. Needless to say, both sides cheated.

Spanish Latin music is sensual, earthy, passionate and near-religious, in the country or in the cities. Portuguese Latin – Brazilian – is more subtle, delicate, cosmopolitan. Yet the two can work together splendidly, as this album shows. There are as many differences and styles in “latin” music as there are in jazz; this album is one of the rare opportunities to hear them brought together in a musical melting pot that cooks.

Deodato’s ultimate contribution to the music on this album is his ability to understand and absorb American jazz with its African roots, identify its relationships with Spanish Latim, inject the sprightly, worldly Brazilian rhythm and take the best of the “feel” of rock, and soul and homogenize them. Well, maybe “homogenize” is the wrong word – it conjures up visions of milk. The music here is hot rum, 90 proof whiskey and cool wine – heady and happy.

Instituto João Donato
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