Luiz Bonfa – Plays Great Songs (1968)

LPFrontCover1Luiz Floriano Bonfá (17 October 1922 – 12 January 2001) was a Brazilian guitarist and composer. He was best known for the music he composed for the film Black Orpheus.

Luiz Floriano Bonfá was born on October 17, 1922, in Rio de Janeiro. He began studying with Uruguayan classical guitarist Isaías Sávio at the age of 11. These weekly lessons entailed a long, harsh commute (on foot, plus two and half hours on train) from his family home in Santa Cruz, in the western rural outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, to the teacher’s home in the hills of Santa Teresa. Given Bonfá’s extraordinary dedication and talent for the guitar, Sávio excused the youngster’s inability to pay for his lessons.

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Bonfá first gained widespread exposure in Brazil in 1947 when he was featured on Rio’s Rádio Nacional, then an important showcase for up-and-coming talent. He was a member of the vocal group Quitandinha Serenaders in the late 1940s. Some of his first compositions such as “Ranchinho de Palha”, “O Vento Não Sabe”, were recorded and performed by Brazilian crooner Dick Farney in the 1950s. Bonfá’s first hit song was “De Cigarro em Cigarro” recorded by Nora Ney in 1957. It was through Farney that Bonfá was introduced to Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, the leading songwriting team behind the worldwide explosion of the great Bossa Nova in the late 1950s to 1970s, becoming a fever in the US. Bonfá collaborated with them and with other prominent Brazilian musicians and artists in productions of de Moraes’ anthological play Orfeu da Conceição, which several years later gave origin to Marcel Camus’ film Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro in Portuguese). In the burgeoning days of Rio de Janeiro’s thriving jazz scene, it was commonplace for musicians, artists, and dramatists to collaborate in such theatrical presentations. Bonfá wrote some of the original music featured in the film, including the numbers “Samba de Orfeu” and his most famous composition, “Manhã de Carnaval” (of which Carl Sigman later wrote a different set of English lyrics titled “A Day in the Life of a Fool”), which has been among the top ten standards played worldwide, according to The Guinness Book of World Records.

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As a composer and performer, Bonfá was at heart an exponent of the bold, lyrical, lushly orchestrated, and emotionally charged samba-canção style that predated the arrival of João Gilberto’s more refined and subdued bossa nova style. Jobim, João Donato, Dorival Caymmi, and other contemporaries were also essentially samba-canção musicians until the sudden, massive popularity of the young Gilberto’s unique style of guitar playing and expressively muted vocals transformed the music of the day into the music of the future. Camus’ film and Gilberto’s and Jobim’s collaborations with American jazzmen such as Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd did much to bring Brazilian popular music to the attention of the world, and Bonfá became a highly visible ambassador of Brazilian music in the United States beginning with the famous November 1962 Bossa Nova concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

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Bonfá worked with American musicians such as Quincy Jones, George Benson, Stan Getz, and Frank Sinatra, recording several albums while in U.S. Elvis Presley sang a Bonfá composition, “Almost in Love” with lyrics by Randy Starr in the 1968 MGM film Live a Little, Love a Little. Also of note is his “The Gentle Rain”, with lyrics by Matt Dubey, “”Non-Stop To Brazil”” (recorded by Astrud Gilberto) and “Sambolero”. From 1990 to 1999, Bonfá worked with singer Ithamara Koorax on several recordings and concerts, appearing live with her as special guest at several venues in Rio de Janeiro such as Teatro Rival, BNDES Auditorium and Funarte-Sidney Miller Hall. They also recorded together, in 1996, the album Almost In Love – Ithamara Koorax Sings The Luiz Bonfá Songbook, featuring Bonfá on acoustic guitar plus special guests Larry Coryell, Eumir Deodato, Ron Carter, Marcos Suzano, and Sadao Watanabe. The sessions, produced by Arnaldo DeSouteiro, were filmed for a Japanese TV broadcast presented by Sadao Watanabe.

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Bonfá wrote soundtracks for two dozens of movies, such as Black Orpheus, O Santo Módico, Os Cafajestes, The Gentle Rain, Pour Un Amour Lointain, Le Ore dell’Amore, Carnival Of Crime and Prisoner Of Rio (on which he collaborated with arranger Hans Zimmer), among many others. He died of prostate cancer at 78 in Rio de Janeiro on January 12, 2001. At the time of his death, he was working in the soundtracks for a movie produced and starred by Karen Black and for a Broadway show titled Brazilian Bombshell based in the life of Carmen Miranda and to be starred by Sonia Braga. (wikipedia)

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This is an album with another really good guitar (released in Spain same year as “Grandes Standards”, but for my taste there are too many strings … and that is a pity, because his guitar alone is already a pleasure !


Luiz Bonfa (guitar)
unknown orchestra conducted by Nick Perito

Alternate edition from Australia:
Alternate Edition (Australia)

01. Born Free (Black/Barry) 3.02
02. Moon River (Mercer/Mancini) 3.18
03. Spanish Eyes (Kampfert/Singelton/Snyder) 2.26
04. Strangers In The Night (Kampfert/Singelton/Snyder) 3.05
05. Bubala (Bonfa) 2.04
06. The Exodus Song (Boone/Gold) 3.13
07. More (Newell/Oliviero/Ortolani) 2.49
08. Somewhere My Love (Webster/Jarre) 3.09
09. Yellow Bird (Keith/Bergman/Luboff) 2.34
10. A Day In The Life Of A Fool (Manhã de Carnaval) (Sigman/Bonfa) 3.16
11. Seville (Bonfa) 2.14
12. A Man And A Woman (Bocouh/Lai/Keller) 2.18



Alternate frontcovers from Spain and Japan:
AlternatefCDs (Spain + Japan)


Nick Perito

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Paul Williams Set – In Memory Of Robert Johnson R.I.P. (1971)

FrontCover1Paul Williams (born Paul Nigel Vincent Yarlett; 19 September 1940 – 1 March 2019) was an English blues and rock singer and musician.

During his early career he joined Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band on bass and vocals, alongside the guitarist Andy Summers.

He then replaced John McVie in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, while also recording with Aynsley Dunbar and Dick Heckstall-Smith.

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In 1970 he joined the band Juicy Lucy as lead vocalist and recorded the album Lie Back and Enjoy It. This band included future Whitesnake guitarist Micky Moody and featured in the 1971 film Bread.[4] Williams later collaborated with Moody on the album Smokestacks, Broomdusters and Hoochie Coochie Men in 2002.

In 1973 he joined the progressive rock group Tempest, led by Jon Hiseman on drums with Mark Clarke on bass and Allan Holdsworth on guitar. After relocating to the United States, he joined Holdsworth in the group known as I.O.U. and recorded the three critically acclaimed albums I.O.U., Road Games and Metal Fatigue.

His most recent touring band had been Blue Thunder, with release in collaboration with David Hentschel in 2018 of Blue Thunder 2. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a brilliant tribute to Robert Johnson:

In Memory of Robert Johnson, remains a timeless tribute to its namesake. Although the production quality of the original 1973 release was remarkable even by today’s standards, the music has taken on an additional level of eloquence and brilliance in this artfully re-mastered version.

The life of Robert Johnson is shrouded in mystery. Some say the legendary blues artist went to the crossroads and made a deal with the devil to be able to play with such emotional power. In any case, his music never relieved his personal sufferings. Most of his recordings were made in the back rooms of Texas hotels and office buildings. Only Terraplane Blues came close to being a hit, even in the restricted race market of the time. Johnson’s difficult life finally ended in 1938 under violent circumstances, yet his music became immortal. During the blues revival of the 60s and early 70s, his songs were resurrected by Captain Beefheart, Cream, The Rolling Stones, and others.

The German edition:
German Edition

English singer, blues guitarist and harmonica player, Paul Williams, was impressed when he heard some of Johnson’s original recordings, which were made available to the public in the late 60s. Williams was so moved, in fact, that he gathered together some of England’s most prominent blues musicians and went into London’s Trident Studios. The resulting sessions faithfully captured the essence of Johnson’s style while providing a showcase from some of the finest musicians of the English blues revival.

Alternate frontcovers:
Altermate FrontCovers

“What we found in Robert Johnson’s music was the authenticity of a man’s life,” stresses the album’s producer and acoustic guitarist Jon Mark, who was highly regarded for his work with blues legend John Mayall. “You have to understand that before the blues revival, we’d had Frank Sinatra singing slick, middle of the road material. Then all of a sudden young people became aware of the blues. We were really impressed with the ability of these black blues musicians to convey a pure sense of the truth. The blues was the most direct way of communicating the pain and the suffering of life, and Robert Johnson really lived it. So you can see why on this session there was a real concern of being purists, of not adulterating the music for our own purposes, but trying to recreate it or interpret it with great respect for the original source.”

Robert Johnson

Williams and Mark were joined on this recording by steel guitarist Glenn Campbell, pianist Bob Hall, bassists Keith Ellis and Pat Donaldson, lead guitarist Eddie Yarlett, and guitarists Alun Davies and Spencer Davis. (press relase)

The Brazil edition:
Brazil Edition

This is not the Paul Williams of Bluegrass fame.

This Paul Williams knows Robert Johnson inside out. He brings more blues and passion to the treatment of this material than any of the White bread treatments by Eric Clapton or Peter Green. One can almost hear that old time Delta sound in this album by someone who knows the blues and has lived it. If one can’t get passed the scratchy sounds of the original Robert Johnson, this album is a good place to start. If you can get passed that, get the original, and then listen to the guys who taught Johnson his licks, such as Lonnie Johnson, Scrapper Blackwell, Blind Blake, and Charlie Patton. (Prometheus)

Indeed: a great tribute to one of the most impressive blues musicians we have ever had … and check the line-up !!!

But … who the fuck is Eddie Yarlett  ???


Glenn Ross Campbell (steel guitar)
Alun Davies (guitar)
Spencer Davis (guitar)
Keith Ellis (bass)
Bob Hall (piano)
Jon Mark (guitar)
Paul Williams (vocals, guitar, harmonica)
Eddie Yarlett (lead guitar)
Pat Donaldson (bass on 01. + 05.)

01. Terraplain Blues Version I 3:54
02. Crossroads 5:42
03. Kind Hearted Women Blues 3:56
04. If I Had Possession Over Judgement Dat. 3:40
05. Rambling Blues 4:28
06. When You Got A Good Friend 2:40
07. Come On In My Kitchen 3:58
08. Terraplain Blues Version II 4:32

All songs written by Robert Johnson



Liner Notes

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