Thursday, September 18, 2014

Transcription - Edison Machado, "Meu Fraco É Café Forte"

Edison Machado is one of those figures of jazz folklore to whom we owe a lot and don't know enough about.  There aren't many pictures or video of him.  Many of the records he played on are lost, and he often times wasn't credited for his work.  He is responsible for a lot of Brazilian music as we know it despite the fact that many people are much more familiar with the names Milton Banana and Paulinho Braga.

Legend has it that he was the first drummer ever to play samba on the drum set.  Apparently a broken drum head in the middle of a tune led him to jump on cymbals and go to town.  While this may be romanticized a bit, it is widely accepted that he was instrumental in the development of the drum set samba, and therefore, the entire bossa nova movement, having played on many of the first bossa nova records; those of Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto, Stan Getz, Sergio Mendes, Elis Regina, Edu Lobo, and so on.

At one point Machado lived in Europe before spending the final 14 years of his life in New York.  He died aged only 56, and practically forgotten.  There is, however, a Ron Carter album called Patrão which features Edison on one tune during his New York days.  The album also features Chet Baker, Naná Vasconcellos, and Kenny Barron.

For now, though, I'm more interested in his Brazil period.  Machado played in a trio with pianist Dom Salvador, and bassist Sérgio Barroso called Rio 65 Trio (I guess it was hip back then to have numbers in your band name).  The trio also released an album under the name "Salvador Trio", presumably led by Dom, and served as Elis Regina's band for a time.  As a side note, Dom Salvador is alive and well in New York City and plays 3 nights a week at the River Café in Brooklyn.

Checkout Machado's playing over the first chorus of Dom's piano solo on "Meu Fraco É Café Forte".  It's really quite a different vibe to your Milton Banana's and your Paulo Braga's.  I find Edison to have a particularly raw, bombastic feel, while still grooving really hard.  Sort of like a Brazilian Elvin Jones.  Check out the way he blows through some of these phrases.  He pushes on them so hard that they're practically out of time, and then WHAM!, right back in.  I've noticed Toninho Pinheiro do that kind of thing as well on the Som Três records.  Edison also seems to be more upbeat oriented than players like Milton Banana.  Of course samba in general has that underlying "e" "a" feel but Machado seems to really lay heavy on these, playing a lot of hands together stuff with a Teleco Teco sort of feel.  He even does this at medium/medium up tempos where Milton Banana would have a tendency to ride.  Also, I really don't think there's a steady bass drum pattern in there.  I EQ'ed this track to death looking for some sign of it beyond the punctuations I have notated.  At this speed and with the bassist thumping away I'm guessing he just went with hands and hats.




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