23/05/2019: “Algodao” by Quarteto Novo

Quarteto Novo only recorded one album together, the 1967 Quarteto Novo. However, that one album had a disproportionate influence.

The group utilises a regional Brazilian music style called baiao, and blends this with Jazz. The particular chord structures and rhythms of that sound give a characteristic verve to their music.

The album is one of the high points of the Bossa Nova movement, unmistakably South American, but easily the equal of the North American Jazz artists.

The song comes in waves, each emphasising a certain quality and instrument. So at the start, the piano predominates and sets a slow place. Then the song builds, and the guitar moves to the fore. The song quietens down again, so that the percussion can lift it back up into a clamour.

Even the bass has its own section, marshalling the rest of the song around it as it twangs and reverberates gracefully.

The song is a master class in the art of setting and controlling the energy levels of a song, surging forward and gently washing away with all the poise of a moonlit beach in a Brazilian lagoon.