Sunday, June 26, 2016

MPB'day

It's Sunday and time for the last post of June! This one's in honor of one of my personal favorite Brazilians.
How much is a Brazilian? In this case, a whole lot. Today's honoree has been at the music thing for 50 years, and the accompanying political activism just as long. Not too many people have gone to #1, then been exiled by a military coup, and then returned to assume the post of Minister of Culture of their home country.
He helped invent a whole style of music from that part of the world as well, did I mention that? Música popular brasileira didn't really exist before this gent and his friends made it up, pretty much out of whole cloth, bossa nova and psychedelic electric guitars. Caetano Veloso (he'll have his day on this page shortly), Gal Costa, Os Mutantes, Tom and Tim Maia will be heroes of the genre forever, but no one figure of MPB looms larger than today's birthday boy.
Tropicália pioneer, Green Party official, world ambassador of the music of Brazil, recording artist and touring bandleader. 74 years old today, and still going strong at all of it. When you talk about lives led by example, it doesn't get much more exemplary than Gilberto Gil, born this day in 1942.
I was taken to see him play at the Paramount Theater here in Oakland a couple of years ago on my birthday, a day which I'll not soon forget. The band was so smokin' I think my clothes caught on fire. He's been out touring with Caetano Veloso, just the two of them and a couple of guitars... I sure hope they come to the Bay Area, and bring fire extinguishers.
If you don't know Gil and his life's accomplishments still ongoing, it's definitely time to get hip. Allow me to help you out with two items that represent two sides of the man: one is a compilation I made of his late '60s/early '70s rock- and funky fusion-oriented cuts, and the other is a concert from one of his acoustic ensembles, remastered by me, playing a bunch of his most iconic tunes in front of an enthusiastic and mesmerized Swiss festival audience about 20 years ago.
The comp has been in my phone for a while and is kind of self-explanatory. The 1995 Lugano set is one of my favorite tapes of one of my favorite artists, so I dusted it off and fixed what I always felt needed fixing, making an A- experience soundwise into what approaches A+, official-releaseworthy SQ. The vocals in this (what sounds like a DAT and claims to be 1st gen) recording were largely buried in what was otherwise a really nice mix, with a bassy/boomy quality to them that really obscured what Gil is singing about.
So I set about excavating this aspect, figuring out where I could use some precisely-applied Graphic EQ and Graphic Dynamics adjustment in Sound Forge 9 to restore the vocals to more balanced audibility and the overall sound of it to a less flat, more sparkling vintage. All whilst taking care not to Frankenstein a mostly all-acoustic performance into too artificialized of a sound-field. I also adjusted the channel that was 2db lacking at the very beginning whilst Mr. Sounddude (Ms. Soundchick? sorry for the pronouns) was twiddling the mix into focus, which IMO really helped the vocals at the start.
Gilberto Gil
1969-1995

I.
Gilberto Gil
Babylon
(1969-1977)

01 2001
02 Essa e Pra Tocar No Radio
03 O Canto da Ema
04 A Bruxa de Mentira (with João Donato)
05 Maracatu Atomico
06 Oma Lao
07 Babá Alapalá
08 Babylon
09 Brand New Dream
10 Sarará Miolo (with Nara Leão)
11 Tipo África (with Brazil Very Happy Band)
12 Jeca Total
13 É
14 Ela
15 Ha, Ha, Ha (with Chico Batera e A Cozinha Manteca)
16 Iansa
17 Volkswagen Blues

Total time: 1:19:47

504 MB FLAC here
180 MB 320K mp3s here

II.
Gilberto Gil Acoustic Group
Estival Jazz
Piazza Della Riforma
Lugano, Switzerland
7.1.1995

01 Saudade de Bahia
02 A Novidade
03 Refazenda
04 Realce
05 Parabolicamará
06 Diabinho Maluco 
07 Tempo Rei
08 Expresso 2222
09 Chiclete com Banana
10 Aquele Abraço 
11 Palco
12 Toda Menina Baiana 
13 Sampa
14 Madalena

Total time: 1:04:15 

Gilberto Gil - vocals, guitar
Celso Fonseca - guitar, vocals
Lucas Santana - flute
Arthur Maia - double bass, bass, vocals
Edu Szajnbrum - percussion, vocals
Jorge Gomes - drums, guitar, mandolin

1st generation soundboard, sounds like a DAT; claims to be 1 gen from the master
remastered by EN, June 2016
419 MB FLAC here
Like I said these two tapes go together well, and illustrate two of the many sides of this guy for those both familiar with his extraordinary body of work and those not so familiar. I hope you pull one or both of them down and let them light up your Sunday like a birthday cake's candles, in celebration of #74 of the amazing Gilberto Gil! Long may he ride.--J.

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