Baden Powell

Baden Powell, a Brazilian musician with a strong international reputation, is Baden Powell. He is a gifted composer and instrumentalist who bridges the gap between classical artistry, popular warmth, and was a key figure of the bossa Nova movement. He was born in Varre e Sai and was baptized following his grandfather, a conductor and musician who was an admirer for the Boy Scouts founder. His family moved to Rio’s Sao Cristovao when he was just four months. His father, Lino de Aquino (violonista), encouraged regular get-togethers of choroes at their home. At these rodas, famous names from Rio’s music played, including Pixinguinha and his brother China. His father took Powell to Radio Nacional at age eight. Powell met Meira (Jaime Florence), who was a well-known violonista and a member in the Benedicto Lacerda’s region. Powell would spend five years studying violao alongside him. Meira, a wide-minded musician, introduced Powell to classics like Segovia and Tarrega as well as Brazilian masters like Garoto Reis and Dilermando. He presented himself on Renato Murce’s Papel Carbono radio station at nine and won first place as a guitarist soloist. He was 13 years old when he started running from school to earn his first cachets at neighborhood parties. He joined Radio Nacional’s accompanist team after completing high school. He traveled throughout Brazil with the singers of Radio Nacional during that time. He joined Ed Lincoln’s jazz trio at the Plaza nightclub in 1955. It was a hub for jazz musicians, journalists and aficionados. It is the second location where bossa Nova was created (the first being Cantina do Cesar after Johnny Alf’s debuts), contrary the popular belief that bossa was born in Zona Sul (Southside’s) apartments. Powell was composing “Deve Ser Amor”, “Encontro Com a Saudade”, “Nao e Bem Assim” and his first hit, 1956’s ‘Samba Triste”, with lyrics by Billy Blanco. This song would be recorded in 1960 by Lucio Alves. Vinicius de Morais, a poet, singer and diplomat, was his partner. Their first song, “Cancao de Ninar Meu Bem”, was a huge success. They then came up with “Samba em Preludio”, which was recorded in 1962 by Geraldo Vandre/Ana Lucia. “Consolacao,” “Tem Do,”” “So por Amor,” and “Samba da Bencao.” “Labareda,” as well as “Samba do Astronauta,” which Powell recorded in 1964. Powell was a well-known composer and musician, and had good connections to the artistic scene. He also received a lot of media exposure. He was there to support Silvia Telles’ famous Jirau show that year. He recorded Um Violao na Madrugada, his first LP (Philips), in 1963. He traveled to Paris in 1963 and performed at the Olympia theater. He was also a regular performer at the Bilboquet club and composed the soundtrack for the movie Le Grabuje. He returned to Brazil in 1964 and recorded A Vontade. It included a composition of Tom Jobim, Vinicius and “Samba do Aviao”. Vinicius also wrote the samba “Berimbau”, which he recorded that year. The duo also composed “Alem do Amor,” Valsa sem Nome,” Deve ser Amor,” Cancao do Amor Ausente,” Consolacao,” Deixa,” Amei Tanto,” Tempo Feliz,” as well as “Samba da Bencao.” This composition was featured in Claude Lelouch’s movie Un Homme et une Femme under the title “Samba Saravah.” Powell spent six months in Bahia while he researched Afro traditions on Brazilian soil. He was particularly interested in the music that stemmed from the sorcery rituals umbanda and candomble. Powell would call the next phase of his compositional relationship with Vinicius the Afro-sambas. This is a mirror of the findings from that period: 1965’s “Tristeza e Solidao” and “Bocoche”, and 1966’s “Canto do Xango” and “Canto de Ossanha,” which were both recorded by Elis Regina with great success in 1966. Powell brought a Brazilian touch to the Afro-tradition by adding his Carioca touch to Bahia folklore. Powell was recently converted and regretted the Afro-samba period as “devil’s music” in a controversial and disappointing interview. Elizeth Cardoso, a fundamental singer, presented Powell/Vinicius’ “Valsa do Amor que Nao Vem” at the first Festival of Brazilian Popular Music, Sao Paulo. He won second place. Aluisio de Oliveira produced a second album by Powell the following year for Elenco. He was deeply involved in the use only the best musicians and left the commercial side of things behind. Unfortunately, it led to the demise of the great label. De Oliveira recorded Baden Powell Swings with Jimmy Pratt after taking advantage of Caterina Valente’s Brazilian tour. TV Excelsior also promoted the National Festival of Popular Music in that year. At this event, novice Milton Nascimento took fourth place with “Cidade Vazia”. (Powell/Lula Freire). Powell and Vinicius recorded their Afrosambas “Canto de Xango,” Canto de Iemanja, and “Canto de Ossanha,” for Forma. Also, he was a part of the season that Elis Regina recorded at Rio’s Zum-Zum nightclub. The 1966 recordings of the LPs O Mundo Musical de Baden Powell, Barclay/RGE; Baden Powell Ao Vivo no Teatro Santa Rosa(Elenco); Tempo Feliz (Forma/Philips), were all made in France. He also played in the U.S. during that time with Stan Getz. He recorded the 1967 album O Mundo Musical No. in Paris, France. 2 with the Paris Symphonic Orchestra. His O Mundo Musical de Baden Powell received the Golden Record in Paris that year. He also presented himself at the Jazz Festival Berlin, Germany with American jazz guitarists Jim Hall, and Barney Kessel. A novice Paulo Cesar Pinheiro, now a well-known samba composer, composed the samba “Lapinha” with Powell in 1968. It was presented by Elis Regni at the TV Record’s first Samba Biennial and won first place. They would also create “Cancioneiro”, “Samba do Perdao,” and “Meu Requim.” The 1968 LP Baden Powell (Elenco), featuring the “Manha de Carnaval”, or “Carnival”, by Luis Bonfa, Antonio Maria, as well as the O Mundo Musical de Baden Powell. In 1969, he recorded Vinte e Sete Horas de Estudio (Elenco). He recorded the Baden Powell Quartet box set and Baden Powell LP in Paris for Barklay next year. He recorded the LP Estudos for Elenco. He recorded the 1972 LP E de Lei for Philips. The next year, Solitude on Guitar was recorded in Germany. In 1974, he recorded in Paris a live LP Baden Powell (Barklay/RGE) and the Baden Powell Trio in 1975.

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