Paulo Alencar & João Meirelles: Jazza Nova/Cool Samba

Fresh Sound pair two lesser-known Latin-flavoured albums from 1962, the principals providing tenor saxophone or flute leads


Record label Fresh Sound Records offer “rare and obscure jazz albums”, and presented here are both Paulo Alencar’s Jazza Nova and João Meirelles’ Cool Samba, with the two albums on a single disc.

Jazza Nova was originally released in 1962 on ATCO Records, an imprint of Atlantic that is still active today. As the title suggests, across 10 tracks Alencar and his ensemble play a range of Latin-jazz pieces, blending more traditional jazz, samba and bossa nova.

For example, tracks like Ideas and Nao Ha Razao are more classic bossa novas – relaxed tempo pieces, featuring piano, acoustic guitar and claves, with a gentle horn-section melody. The jazz influence is much clearer on tracks like Adios America, in which a large ensemble opens with a dense horn-section arrangement and features sections of walking bass line, although underpinned by a samba rhythm throughout. The 11th track, Moeda Quebrada, is taken from a different, though similarly named, album that Alencar released titled Bossa Nova Jazz, and for both albums the only personnel listed is Paulo Alencar and his Brazilian All Stars, with no names given.

João Meirelles’ Cool Samba was also released in 1962. The opening track, Antonio Carlos Jobim’s short Só Danço Samba, is an upbeat piece, and Meirelles leads on tenor saxophone with a catchy staccato melody. All the tracks follow a similar format, with Meirelles leading his band on saxophone or flute, with drums and percussion emphasised over the piano and bass. The various sambas and bossa novas are all fairly short, with some like Samba Toff standing at around a minute. There are several tracks that standout, such as Ilha Do Amor, which is lively uptempo piece in a minor key with unison trumpet and saxophone playing a striking melody.

The albums will, of course, be well received by fans of bossa nova, samba, and Latin jazz, although they are probably slightly better suited to collectors or serious enthusiasts, given their obscurity.

Verbo Amar; Ideas; West Samba; Why Do I Remember; Ziriguidum; Bossa No.2; É Bossa Mesmo; Adios America; Não Hã Razão; Onde Estava Eu; Moéda Quebrada; Só Danço Samba; Samba Sem Nome; Se Teusolhos Falassem; Batucada; Conselho (A Quem Quizer); Solução; Carnival Medley; Gostoso E Samba; Nação Nagô; Samba Toff; Essa Nega Sem Sandalia; Ilha Do Amor; Ritmos Carnivalescos Improvisatos (53.34)
Alencar (ts); Meirelles (ts, f); Silvio Lopez (t); Antonio Oliveira (p); Manuel Gusniao (b); Jayme Storino (d); Amauri Rodriguez (pc), and others. Rio de Janeiro, 1962.
Fresh Sound Records FSRCD1065