Tamba 4 "California Soul" LP coming for Black Friday

Rudy

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And if you look at the lyrics on that video, the last two words are "amor valeu ", which I'll bet translates to "Value Of Love" which may be how the tape box was labeled!
"Valeu" is roughly equivalent to "thank you," where "valor" is similar to "value." But I can see how someone glancing at a lyric sheet or writing on a tape box might have interpreted that as "value" as well. "Where are you from?" seems to be what the original title translates to.

Or it could be like other foreign language tunes where the title was seemingly pulled out of thin air. 😁

Listen to the melody starting around the 14 second point.


That is what was in my mind when I heard the opening notes of "Value of Love." This Jobim track, "Estrada do Sol," is from A Certain Mr. Jobim on Warner Bros.
 

GregCaz

New Member
Hi Everybody,
I'm sort of new here though I remember participating in a few threads on this site way back, about 20 years ago. I just thought I'd chime in on the Tamba 4 "California Soul" LP which I helped finally get released. I had known about its existence for a long time but it wasn't until I brought it up to my old buddy, notorious jazz sleuth Zev Feldman about five years ago that the ball finally got rolling and the tapes suddenly materialized in Universal's other vault, the one that didn't go up in flames, which is located in New Jersey. As a notorious aficionado and collector of all things Brazilian (as well as many other things of course) I'm a big Tamba Trio/4 fan who adores We And The Sea and Samba Blim so it's been a great honor to help unearth their followup. I agree that it's not really as powerful as WATS or even SB (which I love for a different set of reasons) but I just wanted to fill the historical gap regardless...and I do enjoy it for what it is. I really wanted a gatefold and lobbied for it but the budget only allowed for a single sleeve and Kevin Gray's fantastic cutting job. I tried really hard to get in contact with Bebeto Castilho through my many friends in Rio but he's kind of crotchety these days at 80 and can't really be bothered to answer questions about stuff from 50 years ago. The most I was able to get out of him, through a third party, was that "Value Of Love" (listed under that title on Doug Payne's website) was written by one Michael Randi, a NY-area pianist who briefly played with them while Luiz Eça had to make a quick trip back to Rio to tend to personal matters. Zev felt it more prudent to simply list "Copyright Control" where the songwriting credit should be. I hope this helps to clarify some of your questions about this release. As for a digital release, of course I think there should be one but as of right now that's not my call to make.
 

Harry

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Hi Greg,

I actually recall you having been here - the name just sounded familiar to me as a longtime inhabitant here. Thanks for the update and your efforts with this release. The gatefold would have been nice, but them it's not really essential. Having the printed sheet with the liner notes is quite good enough. I'm still not sold on the "Value Of Love" thing - it really does sound like that Dori Caymmi track.
 

GregCaz

New Member
You're very right, it does sound virtually identical to "De Onde Vens?" But Bebeto made a point to insist that it wasn't. So we just decided to play it safe. I'm hoping that this won't be the sole edition of this release and that we can tweak and adjust the info on any future reissue. It's crazy, making this release happen was a strange mix of months going by without a peep from anybody regarding the project interspersed with flurries of urgent deadlines due last week. A classic case of "hurry up and wait" right up until I was actually holding the finished product in my hands.
 

GregCaz

New Member
You're very right, it does sound virtually identical to "De Onde Vens?" But Bebeto made a point to insist that it wasn't. So we just decided to play it safe. I'm hoping that this won't be the sole edition of this release and that we can tweak and adjust the info on any future reissue. It's crazy, making this release happen was a strange mix of months going by without a peep from anybody regarding the project interspersed with flurries of urgent deadlines due last week. A classic case of "hurry up and wait" right up until I was actually holding the finished product in my hands.
 

Rudy

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Site Admin
It's crazy, making this release happen was a strange mix of months going by without a peep from anybody regarding the project interspersed with flurries of urgent deadlines due last week. A classic case of "hurry up and wait" right up until I was actually holding the finished product in my hands.
So yes, pretty much like other reissue projects I've heard of! 😁

It's an important part of A&M's, CTI's and the Tamba group's histories, so it's good someone finally saw fit to rescue it from the vaults.
 

Harry

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Moderator
It just warms my heart to see that classic A&M label spinning around on the turntable. My compliments to the compilers, organizers, and the mastering team. This was a project well worth doing. Hopefully J & K's STONEBONE will get a similar treatment someday.
 

Rudy

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It just warms my heart to see that classic A&M label spinning around on the turntable. My compliments to the compilers, organizers, and the mastering team. This was a project well worth doing. Hopefully J & K's STONEBONE will get a similar treatment someday.
I was thinking the same for Stonebone.

I would like to see all of the A&M CTi albums released in high-res also. The two Jobim albums are already out!
 

Moritat

Active Member
Sad to hear that this lp is reminiscent of "Samba Blim". Blim was such a disappointment after buying and enjoying the underrated and brilliant "We And The Sea".
 

Harry

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Side Two, without the vocals, is the better of the two sides. I wonder if there was thought to interspersing the vocals and instrumentals and whether that would "improve" the album?
 

Rudy

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I've played the actual record maybe five or six times, two the other night. But looking at Roon, I've played the needle drop 14 times. I haven't had time with the holiday rush to work on my "official" review but now that I've gotten used to it, I have a better handle on what's happening. A few random observations....

  • Vocal vs. instrumental: I like having the separation of the two sides. It makes me miss the days of LPs in general, when an album was two distinct sets of tunes.
  • Luiz Eça, where are you? We hear some electric piano but there's none of the dazzling piano work he has done on many previous recordings. Although he arranged horns/strings (I'd probably call this the Creed Taylor Philharmonic :D ) on all but three of the orchestrated tunes, and it's probably his voice singing solo on a couple of the tracks. (Although it's hard to tell since the vocals are recorded so muddy.)
  • This album is more lively and upbeat than the subdued Samba Blim. Other than the dopey album closer "Here, There and Everywhere," which reeks of "time for a token Beatles tune."
  • My thoughts of Tamba Trio/4 being a guest on their own album kind of rings true on many of the orchestrated tracks--you could lift those tracks off of the album and place them on any CTi album in this era and they'd sound the same. While the remaining tracks are very competently played, a lot of the personality of what Tamba Trio/Tamba 4 is all about, is sometimes absent here.
  • Why do Van Gelder's CTi recordings all sound like muck? Samba Blim is the worst of the three--it seems like it was recorded under a wool blanket. California Soul is not quite so bad, though. I would bet Kevin Gray cleaned up a little of that in mastering.

There is still nothing like We and the Sea--it's an anomaly in their catalog. Tamba Trio's gig was short, energetic three minute Bossa Nova/jazz tunes. The other two Tamba 4 CTi recordings are pop/jazz. Two of We and the Sea's three showcase tunes ("O Morro" and "Consolation") are jazz/Bossa theme-and-variations mini-suites that take all sorts of twists, turns and mood changes, all filtered through the tight, seemingly telepathic Tamba Trio interplay; "Chant of Ossanha" is a singular idea but resonates with Tamba's touches. The rest, although being short, are like mood pieces or tone poems (especially "Iemanja" and "Dolphin").
 

LPJim

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Looking forward to receiving my copy, ordered from Ebay for $27 plus post. Quite likely had the album been released when new it would have been "SP 3021," the catalog later assigned to the Audio Master Plus sampler. I noticed the label scans mention SP 3041-A and B, but that number corresponded to Quincy Jones' YOU GOT IT BAD GIRL, released in 1973. Sure hope there's a CD issue, as well as reissues for the many A&M/CTI titles that have been out of print since their original issues for discontinued. Glad the recording survived the great fire too.

JB
 

Rudy

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I'm eliminating a few paragraphs (primarily background information on Tamba 4), but this is the meat of my "official" review:

California Soul goes even further into the typical A&M/CTi style and adds the horn and string accompaniment that adorned many of their labelmates’ albums. And like those albums, at times it seems as though Tamba 4 were guests artists on their own record. Yet those who found Samba Blim to be a bit sleepy and subdued will be glad to know that this record picks up the pace, brings the sound to the forefront, and makes for quite a pleasant pop/jazz album in the CTi style.​
Three of the tunes, including the title track (which is the Nick Ashford/Valerie Simpson tune, in case you were wondering), were conducted and arranged by Johnny Pate; the others were conducted and arranged by Luiz Eça, where typically these proceedings were helmed by Don Sebesky or Eumir Deodato. The album was shelved after it was recorded and Eça moved on to other projects.​
The album is seemingly split into two themes–the first side primarily features vocals, where the second is built around instrumentals. They give Milton Nascimento’s “Bridges” a lively update, Freddie Scott’s “Hey Girl” a subued take, and make a brisk instrumental arrangement of a hit by The Doors, refraining the vocal chorus in “Light My Fire.” “Na Onda do Berimbau” is one of the most lively tracks on the record. “Miss Balanço” and “Você e Eu” are two brisk numbers leading off the second side, which also includes the Dori Caymmi/Nelson Motta tune “De Onde Vens” (strangely titled “Value of Love” with no composer credit).​
The one drawback to this configuration of Tamba 4 is that the spirit of the original Tamba Trio is largely missing. We still get occasional tight vocal work, but there are none of the tight three-part harmonies from days past. And with Eça playing primarily electric piano, none of his dazzling piano brilliance is on display here. I wouldn’t say their energy is sapped completely, but their uniqueness is somewhat buried beneath all the arrangements.​
It is still a lively and fun listen, even if it’s not the Tamba Trio we remember from earlier albums. Anyone fond of the A&M/CTi sound will enjoy this one, especially if you’re hip to the late 60s/early 70s pop-jazz vibe going on here.​
Given the source, the recording sounds as good as it can, thanks to Kevin Gray’s expert mastering. And the album packaging is squarely in the A&M/CTi style, using Sam Antupit’s graphical layout style and two recently discovered Pete Turner photographs, the cover photo being a model photographed at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. No gatefold package, but we at least have an innersheet with liner notes. The record label itself, aside from a few modern brandings on it, would easily pass for a period-correct A&M label. For packaging, they nailed the details perfectly! The vinyl is good but not great–my copy has a little noise here and there, and also a very low-level “thump” from a very small ripple in the vinyl pressing (not audible all that often).​
Is this one a must-buy? The packaging is stellar and the sound quality is as good as it can get. Musically it’s probably not an essential purchase but, given its rarity, fans of both Tamba Trio/Tamba 4 and the output of CTi would be well advised to pick this one up. It is limited to 1,500 copies, with no digital release on the horizon. Although given its recent unearthing, I have a feeling it could end up with a digital release in the future.​
 
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