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


Super bass

Sizão Machado launches a disc
of his own after all these years.

Daniella Thompson

29 May 2002

Bassist Sizão Machado’s discography reads like a who’s who of Brazilian music. Over the past quarter century he’s played with Elis Regina, Djavan, Simone, Chet Baker, Gal Costa, Ivan Lins, Guinga, Joyce, Fátima Guedes, Rosa Passos, Joyce, Herbie Mann, Jim Hall, Chico Buarque, Milton Nascimento, and a panoply of other glittering names. An internationally admired master, Sizão possesses a highly personal style that has been described as transposing guitar rhythms and harmonies onto the contrabass. Yet he waited all these years to release an album bearing his name.

The luminous jazz disc Quinto Elemento was nine years in the making. With plenty of time to select the repertoire, Sizão picked from among his own compositions, as well as some gems by a surprising mix of authors. Because the tracks were recorded piecemeal over the years, the personnel is different in each one (pay attention to the names below, for you’ll find some hot ones).

“Anu Preto” is the Brazilian name of the Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani) a bird related to the cuckoo. Having heard a recorded call of the Anu Preto, I would venture to say that the recurring theme in Sizão’s straight-ahead jazz tune (an award winner at the 2001 XIX Fampop festival in Avaré) is inspired by the bird. Executed by the brass section, the theme alternates with bright solos on alto sax (Nailor “Proveta” Azevedo) and keyboards (Bruno Cardoso).

The master Moacir Santos composed “Stanats” at Stan Getz’s request, but the tune was never recorded until now. Sizão’s driving arrangement gives place of honor to Vitor D’Alcântara’s flute solo, while the rhythm section cooks along, anchored by the leader’s vertical bass.

Legendary guitarist Aníbal Augusto Sardinha (Garoto) wrote the lovely ballad “Duas Contas” (see chords & lyrics). Sizão plays acoustic guitar in addition to vertical bass, and he ventures into singing the first round in a Chet Baker style. Estela Cassilati sings the second round in her high, lyrical voice. They’re accompanied by Webster Santos (bandolim), Yamandú Costa (7-string guitar) and Pepe Cisneros (piano).

The catchy and swinging “Seu Tenório” (Cláudio Guimarães) is best known from super-accordionist Sivuca’s recording in Pau Doido. Here it is given the big-band treatment with just eight players. At the front are Vitor D’Alcântara (tenor sax), Daniel D’Alcântara (fluegelhorn), Pepe Cisneros (piano), and Bocato (trombones).

“Quinto Elemento” is another straight-ahead jazz tune by Sizão, with a sizzling soprano sax solo by David Richards, supported by keyboards, drums, and Sizão's electric bass.

In Tom Jobim’s “Amparo” (rechristened “Olha Maria” when Chico Buarque and Vinicius de Moraes added lyrics), Sizão treats us to a six-contrabass solo of rare beauty, revealing all the expressive capabilities hidden within his outsized instrument.

Joyce sang the infectious samba “Vatapá” (hers and Léa Freire’s) in the CD Hard Bossa. Sizão’s instrumental recording predates Joyce’s, although it was released later. Ion Muniz (tenor sax) and Paulo Guimarães (G flute) are up front, and the band features Raphael Rabello on 7-string guitar, Fernando Moraes on piano, Wilson das Neves on drums, Armandinho Marçal and Luís Fernando Pirulito on percussion, and Luizão Maia alongside Sizão on electric bass.

“Quanto Amor Nesses Olhos” (Christianne Neves) is a contemplative piece for tenor sax (Felipe Lamoglia) and vertical bass (Sizão), supported by the composer’s piano and Eduardo Ribeiro’s drums.

“Santinha” is the oldest composition on the album (the composer, Anacleto de Medeiros, died in 1907). Variably called polka and schottisch, it was recorded by Art Metal Quinteto & Banda de Câmara, as well as by the saxophone quartet JPSax. Here it receives a quaint piccolo and electric-bass arrangement, with the piccolo played by Paulo Garfunkel.

Paulo’s brother Jean teamed up with Sizão to write the happy “Samba da Mãe,” which is given the full carnaval treatment with four singers and three percussionists. It’s the perfect album closer.

Sizão Machado: Quinto Elemento
(Rainbow Records RR-RY-005/01; 2001) 50:08 min.

01. Anu Preto (Sizão Machado)
02. Stanats (Moacir Santos)
03. Duas Contas (Garoto)
04. Seu Tenório (Cláudio Guimarães)
05. Quinto Elemento (Sizão Machado)
06. Amparo [Olha Maria] (Anotnio Carlos Jobim/Chico Buarque/Vinicius de Moraes)
07. Vatapá (Joyce/Léa Freire)
08. Quanto Amor Nesses Olhos (Christianne Neves)
09. Santinha (Anacleto de Medeiros)
10. Samba da Mãe (Sizão Machado/Jean Garfunkel)


Copyright © 2002–2008 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.