:: These reviews were also published
:: in Daniella Thompson on Brazil.


The sunny side of samba

Marcos Ozzellin releases his debut disc, O Samba Transcendental.

Daniella Thompson

22 July 2010

Marcos Ozzellin, Gabriel Aguiar (l) & Felipe Reznik (r)

The samba revival that has spawned so many music clubs in Lapa is also reaping a bountiful harvest of new albums by promising young artists. One of the latter is the talented singer Marcos Ozzellin, who brings his attractive baritone and natural swing to bear on samba, bossa nova, and MPB. A native of São Bernardo do Campo, in Greater São Paulo, he began his career in Sampa during the 1990s before moving to Rio de Janeiro by way of Portugal.

Born to sing, Ozzellin studied with the paulista vocalists Rosa Estevez, Ná Ozzetti, and Suzana Salles, also participating in several São Paulo chorales. In his early Rio days, Ozzellin made ends meet by working in a fabric store. It so happens that one of the store’s clients was Ithamara Koorax. She recognized his talent and became his mentor. Since then, Ozzellin has been taking part in Koorax’s shows, as well as developing a following of his own in Lapa clubs such as Centro Cultural Memórias do Rio, where the photo above was shot.

Among his influences, Ozzellin cites Dorival Caymmi, Noel Rosa, Ary Barroso, Candeia, and Vinicius de Moraes. It’s no wonder, then, that the work of these songwriters found its way into the singer’s debut disc, O Samba Transcendental de Marcos Ozzellin. The songs were selected by the album’s producer, Arnaldo DeSouteiro, who wanted to display samba’s lighthearted face, positive moods, beautiful melodies and harmonies.

The repertoire is redolent of interlocking associations. If the disc opens with Donato’s jazzy “Sambou... Sambou” (1962), it must close with “Saudações” (1974), which Donato’s fellow pre-Bossa Nova jazz pianist Johnny Alf was the first to record. Between the two, there are several 1930s and ’40s classic sambas, beginning with “Treze de Ouro” (1949), originally recorded by the male vocal group Anjos do Inferno and more recently performed by Donato’s and Alf’s 1950s pal, João Gilberto.

There follow two saucy songs made famous by Carmen Miranda—“O Dengo que a Nega Tem” (1940) and “Samba Rasgado” (1938)—and a pair of Baden & Vinicius songs, “Deixa” (1963) and the Afro-samba “Bocochê” (1966), the latter in a lovely duet with Ithamara Koorax that recalls the Sandroni-Sacramento rendition in Saravá, Baden Powell!.

The 1930s are represented by Noel Rosa with “Com Que Roupa?” (1930) and “O ‘X’ do Problema” (1936) and by Ary Barroso with “Quando Eu Penso na Bahia” (1937), the latter another Carmen Miranda vehicle.

From the 1970s emerges perhaps the most contemplative samba in this album: Candeia’s “Preciso Me Encontrar,” immortalized by Cartola in 1976, with the help of Dino Sete Cordas and bassoonist Aírton Barbosa. From the 1980s we get Padeirinho’s “Como Será o Ano 2000?” When Nara Leão recorded this samba in 1983, Brazil was bent under the yoke of military rule; the lyrics only obliquely express the hope for better days.

Como será daqui para o ano 2000?
Como será o nosso querido Brasil?
Como será o morro sem os barracôes?
Como será o Rio sem as tradições?

Será que no ano 2000 as escolas de samba irão desfilar?
Será que haverá carnaval? Será?
Daqui para o ano 2000 só Deus sabe como será
E o povo do Brasil verá

Como será?

Optimism gains momentum in Nelson Angelo’s “A Vida Leva” (1994), a manifesto for living life with joy, passion, and generosity, leaving utopias aside. It’s fitting that the penultimate track brings us “Edmundo,” Aloysio de Oliveira’s blithe version of “In the Mood” (1954), to round out the earlier Carmen Miranda trio.

The arrangements, pared down to the essentials—voice, guitar, and percussion—are satisfying. The liner notes contain all the essential information, including lyrics. Listen to several tracks here.

A side note: as in other recent recordings, I observed here the inscrutable hand of music publishers wreaking havoc with songwriter credits. Arnaldo DeSouteiro tells me that, for imponderable contractual reasons, Aloysio de Oliveira’s name couldn’t be mentioned in the Brazilian edition’s credits for “In the Mood.” Quite separately, I couldn’t help noticing that J. Pereira has ceded his place to Wilson Fernandes Falcão in the “Samba Rasgado” credits. Why? They may have been one and the same man, but only the publisher knows for sure. Who’s the publisher? Funny you should ask. Yes, it’s Mangione, yet again.

Marcos Ozzellin: O Samba Transcendental de Marcos Ozzellin
(Jazz Station Records JSR 6057; 2010) 49:12 min.

Produced & arranged by Arnaldo DeSouteiro

01. Sambou... Sambou (João Donato/João Mello)
02. Treze de Ouro (Herivelto Martins/Marino Pinto)
03. O Dengo que a Nega Tem (Dorival Caymmi)
04. Samba Rasgado (Portello Juno/Wilson Fernandes Falcão aka J. Pereira)
05. Deixa (Baden Powell/Vinicius de Moraes)
06. Bocochê (Baden Powell/Vinicius de Moraes) – w/ Ithamara Koorax
07. Com Que Roupa? (Noel Rosa)
08. Preciso Me Encontrar (Candeia)
09. Quando Eu Penso na Bahia (Ary Barroso)
10. O “X” do Problema (Noel Rosa)
11. Como Será o Ano 2000? (Oswaldo Vitalino de Oliveira “Padeirinho”)
12. A Vida Leva (Nelson Angelo)
13. Edmundo [In the Mood] (Joe Garland/Aloysio de Oliveira)
14. Saudações (Egberto Gismonti/Paulo Cesar Pinheiro)

Marcos Ozzellin (vocals)
Geraldo Martins, Rodrigo Lima, Gabriel Aguiar (guitar)
Wilson Chaplin, Felipe Reznik, Arnaldo DeSouteiro (percussion)
Guest: José Roberto Bertrami (keyboard on track 11)


Copyright © 2010 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.