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Osmar Milito

Viagem (LP)

Label: Elemental Music, Continental

Format: LP

Genre: Jazz

Out of stock

Light and breezy, pure and easy, that’s how I spent most of last week, and this album was a great soundtrack for it.  Osmar Milito is an interesting figure in Brazilian jazz, having a hand in the famous Canecão club in Rio and playing with the likes of Sylvia Telles, Leny Andrade, and Flora Purim early in his career, and later on doing lots of soundtrack work for those venerable Brazilian exports, telenovelas.  His post-bossa nova records are collectible for a reason: they’re damn good listening.  Milito does the general arrangements and provides his groovy acoustic and electric piano stylings on a variety of tunes, many of which will be familiar to regular visitors to this blog.

It opens with Jimmy Webb’s hit for the 5th Dimension, “Up Up and Away” aka “Beautiful Balloon” which sets the dreamy, laid-back tone right away.   Milito once again proves my theory that Jorge Ben songs will always be recognizable as Jorge Ben songs, no matter how unconventional or dramatically different their presentation. Que Maravailha has been almost completely purged of Ben’s trademark swing and lilt but still survives.  Although the strings were arranged by esteemed reed man Paulo Moura, I would almost consider this arrangement sacrilege if Osmar’s work wasn’t so charming in general.  If I may coin a new genre, I’d called it “Hardcore Easy Listening” (which differs from Extreme Easy Listening mostly in its less nihilistic ideology…)  The rhythm section (Roberto “Ronnie”, Chico Batera, and Tião Barros) simply can’t help but slip a groove in the pocket when you’re looking the other way, like musical spies planting evidence on the unsuspecting listener.  

With only one original tune on the album (Osmar’s Planalto Geral), I suppose this all may work better for people who are somewhat familiar with these compositions already. But there are so many delicious production choices.  Northeast Brazil has an especially strong presence on this record.  A couple of my favorites tunes here are Mulher Rendeira, a song which goes back to Lima Barretto’s 1953 film Os Cangaceiros, Caymmi’s Oração à Mãe Menininha and the Dominguinhos/Anastácia tune Eu Só Quero Um Xodô which had been a hit for Gilberto Gil. 

Cat. number: 40010
Year: 2024