An amazing collection – every single Jorge Ben album recorded for Philips – one hell of a massive legacy in music, packaged here with a bonus CD of rare material too! The albums in the collection are the stuff of legend – amazing discs that forever changed the face of Brazilian music with Jorge's unique blend of samba and soul, plus a touch of funk as the 70s came on – and together, the music is a mindblowingly heavy batch of work that few other artists could ever match! Titles include Samba Esquema Novo, Sacudin Ben Samba, Ben E Samba Bon, Big Ben, Jorge Ben (1969), Forca Bruta, Negro E Lindo, Ben, 10 Anos Depois, A Tabua De Esmeralda, Solta O Pavao, Gil E Jorge, and Africa Brasil. Rarities disc is unique to this set, from what we can tell – and is filled with goodies too!
Mr. Gil didn't prove himself a great popular songwriter until 1967 or so; like most artists, he didn't arrive full-blown and had to learn his craft and make a living. In the early 1960's, while studying business administration at the University of Bahia in Brazil, he cut a few songs under the direction of Jorge Santos, who mostly recorded commercial jingles; that period is laid out for all to hear on the album "Salvador, 1962-1963" (Warner Brazil). These rare singles contain some sweet, bouncy Carnival marchinhas and samba ballads, but no incredible songs; one of the records, "Povo Petroleiro," was financed by an executive at Petrobras, Brazil's major oil company, and contains the lyric "our petrol is Brazilian gold; it's the pride of a petrol people." But as an early look at a great artist in the making it's instructive, like Andy Warhol's 1950's shoe drawings.
Recorded live at the Montreux Casino, in the 12th Montreaux International Jazz Festival, in 14th of July 1978, Switzerland. This live disc contains a spirited live performace that touches on the funkier side of Gil and Brasilian music in general. Especially memorable is the second tune, Chororo, which has a kind of joyous tropical feel to it which is counter balanced by a musical bridge which appears several times that puts the major chords of the vocals against the minor chords of the band, creating an interesting 'tense' section in an otherwise upbeat song. The cover of Tropicalia favorite Bat Macumba is terrific as well, very extended and different than the Os Mutantes version. This disc is a great addition to any MPB collection, and might also be enjoyed by the jam band set due to Gil's band's funky and frenetic back up work.