Brazil - Full Moon 37 - 10/24/99
With more than twenty-five albums released to date, Brazilian guitarist wonder
Paulinho Nogueira now makes his debut on a U.S. label. Malandro Records' new Legends
of Brazil series presents Paulinho Nogueira's Reflexões
(Reflections). With this classy first act, Legends of Brazil is a world of surprises.
One can only imagine what other releases will appear down the line.
Born in Campinas (state of São Paulo) in 1927, Paulinho Nogueira fell in love
with the violão (nylon-string guitar) at age 10. His older brother João
taught him the first chords, and that first guitar, a 1937 Del Vecchio, is still used by
Paulinho, including this album. Paulinho's greatest idol could not have been anyone else but
Aníbal Augusto Sardinha, or as he was better known, Garoto. Though they
never met, Paulinho says Garoto was his real teacher, his strongest influence.
Paulinho's first album was released in 1958, a fantastic year for Brazil. That year,
Brazilians won their first soccer World Cup, Maria Ester Bueno was a winner at Wimbledon, and
Bossa Nova was noticed as a major musical movement. As the 60's and 70's rolled in, Paulinho
was more talked about in musical circles. His guitar accompaniment on Elis Regina's classic
rendition of Carinhoso (Affectionate) is historic, as is his live duet performance
with Baden Powell at one of Record TV shows (they played Ernesto Nazareth's famous Odeon,
a Brazilian choro that has become a landmark). Paulinho's name was associated with some
of the greatest Brazilian performers. His legacy has been passed on to other Brazilian guitarists.
He was Toquinho's master. Paulinho's popularity never seems to have vanished from the musical
charts. In 1970, his song Menina (Girl) hit the number one spot in Brazilian popular music.
Reflexões (Reflections) is unique even before you open the jewel case. The cover
art work features one of Paulinho's paintings of Rio de Janeiro with a superimposed photo of his
1937 Del Vecchio guitar. Personal photos of Paulinho's archives feature him, for example, with
Elizeth Cardoso, Elis Regina, and Baden Powell. Producer Rick Udler's meticulous notes provide
a comprehensive background of this legendary performer as well as a track-by-track analysis.
The title track is a longer remake of Paulinho's own Reflexões em 2 por 4 (Reflections
in 2 times 4). It majestically sets the tone for the other pieces. Jorge Ben's world hit
Mas Que Nada (Oh, Come on) brings the sounds of samba and Maracatú directly
from Paulinho's guitar. Another example of extracting percussive sounds from his guitar is given
in Sérgio Ricardo's Zelão. Paulinho creates cuíca sounds using
only his guitar. Even when playing old Bossa Nova standards, such as Tom Jobim/Newton Mendonça's
Samba de Uma Nota Só (One-Note Samba), Paulinho innovates. This arrangement begins
like an old maxixe, similar to the ones composed by Ernesto Nazareth. It is, however, with
Baden Powell/Vinícius de Moraes' Samba em Prelúdio (Samba in Prelude) that
Paulinho will overwhelm your senses. If you have ever heard this tune sung before, it was done with
two voices in the second part. In Paulinho's recording, his one guitar plays both "voices" with no
overdubbing. It's a masterpiece number by a master guitarist!
The music speaks for itself. More than an essential album, Reflexões (Reflections)
will become an instant classic. Paulinho Nogueira is superb. If you are not familiar with his
work, this will be an impressive first acquisition.
Copyright © 1999 Egídio Leitão