Composer Of Black Orpheus Plays And Sings Bossa Nova Luiz Bonfa

Album info



Label: Universal / Verve

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Latin Jazz

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Samba De Duas Notas02:47
  • 2Vem So02:01
  • 3Sambalamento02:21
  • 4Tristeza03:05
  • 5Manha De Carnaval03:21
  • 6Silencio Do Amor02:11
  • 7Domingo A Noite02:03
  • 8Ilha De Coral03:17
  • 9Adeus03:25
  • 10Quebra Mar02:24
  • 11Amor Que Acabou02:00
  • 12Chora Tua Tristeza03:06
  • 13Bossa Nova Cha Cha03:20
  • Total Runtime35:21

Info for Composer Of Black Orpheus Plays And Sings Bossa Nova

Alongside Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfa (the co-composer of BLACK ORPHEUS) is one of the original trailblazers of the bossa nova sound. Released in 1962 on Verve, „Plays And Sings Bossa Nova“ can safely be certified a classic of the genre. Elegant, lyrical, rhythmic, and a showcase for Bonfa's deft guitar technique and sweet, unassuming singing, „Plays And Sings“ is an album that will sound good to almost anyone, at any time.

Brazilian composer and guitarist Luiz Bonfa scored an international hit with the poignant ballad 'Manha de Carnaval' in 1959. It was heard in the brilliant film Orfeo Negra (Black Orpheus), which retold the myth of Orpheus, setting it in the vast favelas — the hillside slums ringing the cities of Brazil — during the week of Carnival. The film and the song put Bonfa in the forefront of a wave of tremendous musical talent. Along with Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto, he became famous for his gently swinging melodies, which blended Brazilian folk, pop, and the classical repertoire. And jazz: In 1958 and 1959, Bonfa concertized with Mary Martin, and jazz became increasingly important to him.

Bonfa went on to cut dozens of albums, including a critically acclaimed comeback in the 1990s. Plays and Sings Bossa Nova, Bonfa’s first and only solo album for Verve, is vintage. Made in 1962, when bossa nova was new to Americans, the album contains two distinct sets. The first features an intimate Bonfa and his trio, performing his arrangements and compositions. As a singer, he is very much in the relaxed tradition of Jobim; as a guitarist, his style is subtly swinging yet precise, especially suited to ballads like the lovely 'Samba de Duas Notas' and 'Vem So'. The second set contains Bonfa’s guitar framed by the orchestrations of the emerging Argentinian composer and arranger Lalo Schifrin, who would himself go on to a highly successful career.

Luiz Bonfa, vocals, guitar
Maria Helena Toledo, vocals
Leo Wright, flute
Oscar Castro-Neves, piano, organ, guitar
Iko Castro-Neves, bass
Roberto Pontes-Dias, drums, percussion
Lalo Schifrin, arranger

Recorded at A&R Recording Studios, New York, New York on December 26 & 31, 1962

Digitally remastered

Luiz Bonfa
was a Brazilian guitarist and composer best known for the compositions he penned for the film Black Orpheus.

Bonfa was born on October 17, 1922 in Rio de Janeiro. He began teaching himself to play guitar as a child; he studied in Rio with Uruguayan classical guitarist Isaias Savio from the age of twelve. These weekly lessons entailed a long, harsh commute by rail and on foot from his family home in the western rural outskirts of Rio de Janeiro to the teacher's home in the hills of Santa Teresa. Given Bonfa's extraordinary dedication and talent for the guitar, Savio excused the youngster's inability to pay for his lessons.

Bonfa first gained widespread exposure in Brazil in 1947 when he was featured on Rio's Radio 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 compositions were recorded and performed by Brazilian crooner Dick Farney in the 1950s. It was through Farney that Bonfa was introduced to Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, the leading songwriting team behind the worldwide explosion of Brazilian jazz/pop music in the late 1950s and 1960s. Bonfa collaborated with these and with other prominent Brazilian musicians and artists in productions of de Moraes' anthological play Orfeu da Conceicao, which several years later gave origin to Marcel Camus' legendary 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. Bonfa wrote some of the original music featured in the film, including the numbers “Samba de Orfeu” and his most famous composition, “Manha 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.

As a composer and performer, Bonfa was at heart an exponent of the bold, lyrical, lushly orchestrated, and emotionally charged samba-cancao style that predated the arrival of Joao Gilberto's more refined and subdued bossa nova style. Jobim, Joao Donato, Dorival Caymmi, and other contemporaries were also essentially samba-cancao 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 Bonfa 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.

Bonfa lived in the USA from the early 1960s until 1975. He worked with American musicians such as Quincy Jones, George Benson, Stan Getz, and Frank Sinatra, recording several albums while in United States. Elvis Presley sang a Bonfa composition, “Almost in Love”, in the 1968 MGM film “Live a Little, Love a Little”. Bonfa remained well-connected in the US after returning to Brazil, but his profile receded into relative obscurity during his final decades. His last album, 1997's “Almost in Love”, was a collaboration with Brazilian singer Ithamara Koorax.

Bonfa died in Rio de Janeiro on January 12, 2001 from prostate cancer complicated by ischemia. He was 78 years old. (Source: AllAboutJazz)

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