Marcos Valle is probably best known Stateside as the writer of “Summer Samba” via its various recordings by the likes of Astrud Gilberto, Connie Francis and the Walter Wanderley Trio back in the sixties, but the fact is that he has had a very prolific (if rather erratic) career in which he has experimented with various musical genres, especially in his most creative phase in the early seventies, which has recently been rediscovered via new recordings by younger Brazilian artists like Curumin and Bebel Gilberto.
This renewed interest in Valle’s seventies output has prompted a rerelease of four of his albums, all originally released between 1970 and 1974 before he relocated to the U.S., where he lived and worked until the early eighties. These discs show his evolution both as a songwriter and a performer. Back then he took many musical risks, experimenting with sounds that were unheard of in Brazil.
The first of these is the self-titled “Marcos Valle” (1970), which was made after he returned from a brief stay in the United States. Here he still seems tied to the sounds of bossa nova-era Brazil (after all, he scored his first, and still best-known, hit in the genre), but willing to look beyond that by employing electric instruments. On “Garra” (1971), on the other hand, he seems willing to break free from the older wave with hippie anthems like “Mais de 30,” where he sings that you can’t trust “anyone over 30” while sending a heartfelt bossa-like message to his mentor Antonio Carlos Jobim with “Ao Amigo Tom.”
“Vento Sul” was one of his worst-selling albums at the time of its original release in 1972 probably because he pushed too hard with lots of electric guitar and a sort of nod to heavy metal and psychedelics. “Previsao do Tempo” (1973) fared better as he worked with musicians from the still-active Brazilian jazz band Azymuth as he went back to his samba roots while still experimenting with electronics. The combination of his Fender Rhodes and Jose Roberto Bertrami’s Hammond is nothing short of genius.
All four albums include extensive liner notes by Allen Thayer, who analyzes each track in detail. Also a bonus for fans is that the discs contain all the original art—including the old logo from Odeon, Brazil’s EMI subsidiary that released most of the bossa nova classics of the time. It’s just too bad that the final album of that phase, 1974’s self-titled disc is not included in this rerelease. (Ernest Barteldes)
“Marcos Valle” (1970)
“Vento Sul” (1972)
“Previsao do Tempo” (1973)
Light in The Attic Records