🎷 AotW: CTI Tamba 4 - SAMBA BLIM (SP-3013)

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How Would You Rate This Album?

  • ***** (Best)

    Votes: 3 27.3%
  • ****

    Votes: 4 36.4%
  • ***

    Votes: 1 9.1%
  • **

    Votes: 2 18.2%
  • * (Worst)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Never Heard This Album

    Votes: 1 9.1%

  • Total voters

Captain Bacardi

Well-Known Member
Tamba 4

A&M/CTi SP-3013


Released 1968

Format: Vinyl/Reel-to-Reel/8-Track/CD(Japan)

Produced by Creed Taylor

  • 1. Samba Blim (Luiz Bandeira) - 2:35
    2. Watch What Happens (M. Legrand/N. Gimbel) - 3:20
    3. Weekend (Luiz Eça) - 1:55
    4. Palladium (Orlan Divo) - 2:00
    5. Quietly (Ohana/Dorio/Luiz Eça) - 2:07
    6. Know It All (Joao Donato/Sergio Paulo Valle) - 2:40
    7. Reza (Edu Lobo/Ruy Guerra/N. Gimbel) - 2:25
    8. Tristeza De Nos Dois (D. Ferreira/Bebeto/M. Einhorn) - 2:42
    9. San Salvador (D. Ferreira/Aglae) - 2:25
    10. Slick (Herb Alpert/John Pisano) - 3:05
    11. Baiano (A. Luz) - 2:45
    12. Pregāo (S. Ricardo/C. Diegues) - 3:10

    String Arrangements by Luiz Eça

Luiz Eça - Piano
Ohana - Drums, Conga, Afuche
Bebeto - Flutes
Dorio - Bass, Guitar, Percussion
Violin - Emmanuel Green, David Nadien, Matthew Raimondi, Tosha Samaroff, Gino Louis Sambuco, Julius Schacter, Jack Zayde, Joseph Zwilich
Viola - Alfred Brown, Harold Coletta, David Mankovitz, Emanuel Vardi
Cello - Charles McCracken, George Ricci

Recorded at Van Gelder Studios
Rudy Van Gelder, Engineer
Recorded August 7, 8, 13, 1968

Cover Photographs by Pete Turner
Albums Design by Sam Antupit
Liner Notes by Ira Gitler

Capt. Bacardi
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My first taste of Tamba 4 came many years ago with the old FAMILY PORTRAIT album. The selection there was "Dolphin" from WE AND THE SEA, and overall I guess I found it uninspiring back then, because I didn't think much about Tamba 4 at all until a few years ago on the old board when discussions erupted on the subject of Brazilian music in general and the album SAMBA BLIM specifically.

As I have been known to do, whenever an odd album comes up, if I'm at work, I'll check the record library to see if there's one there, and then either borrow it, or ask to take it home permanently (assuming I'm interested in it enough to want to own it). Our discussions at the time treated SAMBA BLIM as if it were a fairly rare commodity, which as vinyl, it might have been. I don't think it sold all that well, so there are relatively few copies out there floating around. I was quite surprised to find a copy in our record library, and got permission to take it home. Sadly, the album was in a plain black sleeve, and was a mono promo copy, but I enjoyed what I heard. Muzak? Maybe, -- but really NICE Muzak. I too like "Reza" and "Slick", but also like the title track, the arrangement of "Watch What Happens" and the nifty "Weekend."

I was delighted when we got news that Dusty Groove was going to stock the Japanese CD, and happy to finally hear the album in stereo. I think it could use a re-mastering like the Verve WE AND THE SEA got to improve the overall muddiness to the sound, since the older Japanese WE AND THE SEA sounded just as muddy.

...reviewing & uploading the album image, online...

I still have the cassette copy of the mono LP you had! It took a bit to find the LP version of it (I believe the Cap'n located one at one of his infamous record shows)...and of course, within a few months of finding the LP, it came out on CD. (Same thing happened with just about all of my Walter Wanderley Verve CDs.) Compared to the stereo LP, the CD is a decent improvement. Supposedly the "mini LP" version from Japan, more recent, is "remastered." (But I thought my copy was also...go figure!) I'd part with the LP, but I like keeping these CTi LPs for the larger gatefold and artwork.

And to be honest, if Muzak were more like this, I wouldn't mind Muzak so much! :wink:

-= N =-
I have a couple of original Tamba Trio albums on LP (Phillips label), and I really tried to get into them for a long while... but I never could make myself enjoy the sound of their vocals. The arrangements are obviously well-crafted and the playing is obviously virtuosic, but somehow the end result just doesn't touch me. I think the first two Brasil '66 albums tried a similar concept with a much more listenable result.

So I differ with Mssr. Rudy here. I prefer this particular album over the LP's that Luiz Eca & Co. cut in Brazil--primarily because the Creed Taylor sound is more pleasing to my ears than the Tamba sound. (A curious reversal of my feelings about Sergio Mendes' work, to be sure!)

- William
I'm compelled to rise to the defense of one of my 'Desert Island Discs, 'Samba Blim'. It's absolutely smart, exquisite, and riveting -- all in one. I'm talking goose-bumps, hair standing on the arms, and what I call a 'life-changer'.
I got my first taste of Tamba a few years ago among a raft of near-mint $3 promos from a retired radio station manager, and 'Blim' walked away with top honors -- a cut above 'We and the Sea'. I've since played 'Blim' for others, including hard-core jazzers and soundtrack buffs -- and blown them away. When I brought a CD stack to play at an Athens, GA lounge-bar, once 'Blim' came around on the CD carousel, the bartender and patrons insisted it keep playing for the rest of the night. I could only tell 'em it was a Japanese CD available from Dusty Groove. Speaking of which, I've since gotten five import Tamba CDs, and while they come close, especially the 1974 'Tamba' on RCA/BMG, it's 'Samba Blim' that makes my heart swim.
snapcrotch said:
...'Blim' walked away with top honors -- a cut above 'We and the Sea'.
I do agree with you there. I know a lot of people love the extended explorations of We And The Sea, but I think they come off as rambling and a bit pretentious. Blim is (obviously) more accessible, and IMO it's an improvement.

- William
Interesting responses on this album. For me, this was the first Tamba 4 album I had heard, (this was when I bought 4 copies for various members here at a record show a few years back:cool: ), so my first impression was that it was a nice Brazilian pop, with some jazz thrown in here and there. I think because the songs are generally shorter than those on We And The Sea it's a bit more accessible for most folks. Artistically, I'd go with We And The Sea, but I like Samba Blim as well, just because it's a more lively setting. I absolutely dig "San Salvador", great groove on that song. I enjoyed their version of "Slick", since I never thought about a different way to play this song before. Unlike most others, I'm sick of "Watch What Happens" - no matter who does it. :oops: I don't get the attraction. Oh well... :rolleyes:

Capt. Bacardi
NP: Pat Metheny Group - First Circle
"San Salvador" is my favorite too. Very very hip.

About the long tracks on We And The Sea again -- I'm not bothered by their length, myself; I'm bothered by the way they jump around so much. 4/4 largo for thirty seconds, 6/8 allegro for twenty seconds, unaccompanied flute solo for a couple of bars, etc... way too many ideas are introduced and then prematurely abandoned. I'd like it better if Eca had spent some time developing each individual idea rather than cramming in as many different ones as he could.

- William
We And The Sea's lengthier tracks were more like "theme and variations" explorations...and the rapid time changes are a trademark of their sound and style. The Tamba Trio track "Desafinado" absolutely floors me every time--the time changes and arrangement are so tight that I'd swear these guys were mind-linked, and they pack more into the two or three minutes than other bands can cover on an entire side of an LP.

I've tried hard to like Samba Blim, but to my ears, I just don't like its overall uninspired production. To me, it's just not worthy of having Tamba 4/Trio's name on it...it's almost a waste of their incredible talent to play at such a reduced, low-energy level, playing on auto-pilot as it were. That would be like having Brubeck play an album of single-note scales in the key of C with one finger. (Just due to Samba Blim, I'm almost glad that rumored third album wasn't released...especially after reading some of the rumored songs they covered!) The one saving grace was that the album wasn't buried in Sebesky Strings (c)! :D

As I said before, it's not an overall BAD album (it's pleasant enough and has a couple of good tracks), it's just not the Tamba sound I was hoping for...it's more like a Creed Taylor album featuring Eca & Co. as sidemen. And my first impressions of the LP (the muddy, unclear sound) certainly won me no points either, and even with the cleaner CD available, it's hard to shake that first impression.

IMHO, Sergio Mendes borrowed a LOT of his Brasil '66 sound from Tamba Trio's earlier recordings...it only became apparent when I heard earlier Tamba Trio recordings and heard certain familiarities in the styles of arranging and keyboard work of Eca and Mendes. Even Mendes' pre-Brasil '66 recordings have more in common with earlier Tamba Trio, especially approaching it from the jazz side. It's only when a person listens to many different Brazilian artists do they realize how tight (intentionally or not) these artists and bands were back in those days, whether they picked up these stylistic touches via common influences or even via osmosis.

And I'll be one of the first to contend that Luiz Eca and Tamba Trio are one of the more overlooked Brazilian artists/bands from the past. Our "worst-kept secret", I guess. :)

-= N =-
William -- I just noticed you exchanged your furtive signature photo mugshot for a puckish caricature of Paul Desmond. What's the deal, bro?
Ah, I was getting tired of seeing my pasty mug all over the place. As for the current choice, I figure it's a better way of making known my admiration for Paul's music than just saying "I love Paul Desmond" all the time (as I did in the past).

If I could find good pictures of Creed Taylor or Don Sebesky, I'd use those sometime too--just for Rudy's benefit. :twisted:

- William


I think you and I agree that Grusin has never produced anything of substantial value, either with his writing or his pianistic abilities. Yes? At least I've never heard anything that makes me think of him as anything more than a hack arranger and purveyor of fuzak.

I can understand why you don't dig Don Sebesky's style of "sweetening" jazz dates, but as far as musicianship goes I think he's miles ahead of Grusin. Do you have the Maynard Ferguson Roulette box from Mosaic? Some of Don's writing for the MF band might inspire you to at least acknowledge his competence as an arranger. (Which is more than Grusin deserves IMO.)

- William
Double-EEEEEEK! :D

William said:
I think you and I agree that Grusin has never produced anything of substantial value, either with his writing or his pianistic abilities. Yes? At least I've never heard anything that makes me think of him as anything more than a hack arranger and purveyor of fuzak.

I've found his strengths (?) to be more as a soundtrack author...where the music isn't directly listened to...more like audio wallpaper. Neither of us can deny Grusin has talent, but his style certainly is something I've never cared for. I pretty much ignored him until I bought his CD of Mancini tracks...his treatment of Mancini's material was so lightweight, trite and trivial that I instantly lost respect for his other work. He was more of the attitude of "Oh, look at how hip and happenin' I can make the 'Baby Elephant Walk' by slapping this really cool hip-hop beat onto it!" (This is just an example...I'm not sure if that's one of the songs he mutilated or not.) His piano style has never impressed me, except maybe as a cocktail jazz pianist in a Holiday Inn somewhere...I've had the impression his playing is more ornamentation than actual development of any kind of theme or arrangement.

Oh...and did I mention that Sebesky even somewhat looks like Grusin in that photo you posted? :wink:

I do have Maynard's Roulette box...a 10-disc textbook on modern big band, IMHO. Great stuff, end to end! Sebesky should have stuck to big band arranging IMHO...I have a low tolerance for strings mixed with jazz! There are a couple of cases where I do like the strings. Desmond Blue is one of them.

Another I liked, and played to death, was Wynton Marsalis's Hot House Flowers. (And it also helped having Kenny Kirkland and Branford Marsalis in his band...they were at least able to inject some excitement into the proceedings.) These days, it's the only Marsalis album I can tolerate (other than the classical side)...the rest of his music is stale and repetitive, although competently played. He's a relic of styles from the past IMHO...and his whole "attitude" about his world of jazz is pathetic. I even bought the follow-up to Hot House Flowers, which was called something like Midnight Blues: Marsalis Standard Time Vol. ?, hoping it would be good. Totally different concept, not at all engaging, and thankfully I bought it used for only a couple of bucks...it still sits for sale on half.com for over a year now, unsold...unwanted.

Hot House Flowers, like Desmond Blue are very melodic in their approach, which is what draws me to them. Strings as "fluff" or accompaniment to otherwise good music never have done much for me. And it's odd how my personal tastes enter into it: I have played, literally dozens of times, Jobim's Warner Bros. "Composer Series" CD (which contains the entire Wonderful World of A.C. Jobim album)...basically, Sinatra/Jobim w/o Sinatra. Love it! Tasteful strings kept out of the way of the music are what I like.

-= N =-
Rudy said:

SP3013 (Released 1968)
Vinyl, Cassette and 8 Track
(Reissued on CD by Pony Canyon in Japan as POCM-5054
Produced by Creed Taylor
Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Studios

Track listing:

Samba Blim
Watch What Happens
Know It All
Tristeza De Nos Dois
San Salvador

A bit of a "personal taste kinda thing", The Tamba 4 upped the "commercial quality trappings" by more than a notch. Quite a departure from its predecessor, the second outing is known for a lot of differences--such as a greater number of compositions, a string section on a couple of tracks, Luis Eça and his band a lot more involved (and giving each song a LOT more DEPTH than you heard on their FIRST!) and the ever-present Rudy Van Gelder at the board giving you more than a sonic hint that this really was recorded at HIS studio.

A psychedelic outing in that sense. :oneeye: The group photo on the back cover with their faces basked in a purple light should be a tip-off. :wtf: If the remake of "Watch What Happens" doesn't give you a hint. :freak:

Sergio Mendes must have been taking notes here, as it seems from what he heard, he would take and make his PRIMAL ROOTS album out of years later. :goofygrin:

Of course, this session resulted in The Tamba 4's almost released THIRD album, of which only the oft-recorded Norman Gimbel-Baden Powell composition, "Berimbau" and a flighty version of the Nick Ashford-Valerie Simpson-written "California Soul" (of which the most notable version was done by The 5th Dimension) made it onto a '45'.

So dim the lights, turn on the color wheel aimed against a wall, normally used to light the aluminum Christmas Tree and make whatever booze you have on hand your drink of choice. It's The Tamba 4 Tonight!!!!! :badteeth:

Good material and arrangements and a rather hopped-up follow-up... (Notice the more BRIGHTER photo of the group, with the DEEPPINK lights shinin' on 'em!)

Yes, I still have my MONO, sent to me back in '97! :thumbsup:

This one I just can't rate that high--merely average. After having heard earlier Tamba Trio recordings, this one is just your typical Taylor-ized watered-down version of Luiz Eca and crew. The fire that lit up "We And The Sea" *and* their Tamba Trio albums just isn't here, except on a few tracks. The muddy Van Gelder sound doesn't help either--the Japan CD I have is probably the best version of it I have.
This was my first taste of Tamba 4. After a discussion at the old A&M Corner Forum (June/July 1998), I dug through our record library at work and found a copy of SAMBA BLIM. It was a mono WLP and had only a stock black 12" jacket, so no pictures, no credit. I took it home and listened and was delighted with what I was hearing.

I later ordered the Japanese CD when it was surprisingly reissued, but for now, I'm playing the old mono LP.

Even though I'm sure Samba Blim is the rarer of the two albums, it was the first one I found on LP. I had to go through a reel tape of "We And The Sea" before I could locate an LP. Then of course, CD versions of both came out...such is my luck!
I've never seen Samba Blim on vinyl but managed to fins the Japanese import a few years back. Of the two I prefer We & The Sea, but only slightly. "Slick" is the tune here that I find most interesting after having the TJB version branded in my mind for so long.

--Mr Bill
I am a die-hard Tamba 4 fan. I consider Luis Eca as the Bill Evans of Brazil. I love "We and the Sea", but I love "Samba Blim" even more. Like I wrote about "We and the Sea", if you have not heard these two gems.... I feel sorry for you! Kudos to A&M/CTI for recording this superb group. Mr. Eca passed away about 8 yrs ago, if I'm not mistaken. Even the albums they recorded in Brasil are fantastic, just as good in their own way as the American recorded ones at A&M /CTI.
This is a great album with an infectious pop sound. Clearly intended for airplay for the Tamba 4 but sadly unsuccessful in that regard. A gem of what was the subtler side of bossa nova. Stand-outs include "Watch What Happens," "Palladium" and "Slick." 4 stars.
I remember being suprised at how many of those "A&M/CTi Covers" I saw as soon as I saw this one--not to mention that We And The Sea, which I've long seen, actually had a follow-up...

I like this album a lot, although it's nowhere close to the genius of We And The Sea. Still, there are plenty of enjoyable moments on this album. My favorite song is "San Salvador", which I just find to be exciting. I like the quicker tempo on this version of "Reza". Other favorites are "Palladium", "Pregāo", "Know It All" and "Samba Blim". Even "Slick" has its moments, although it's not nearly as good as the TJB's version. The only song I didn't care for was "Watch What Happens". Still, an enjoyable album. 4 stars.

Capt. Bacardi
Too bad that Third Effort still has yet to be released... Californ'a Soul and Berimbau are at least available on '45'...

I've owned this album twice... once on lp and once on cd. I just don't care for it. I LOVE "We & The Sea", but this one is very different. WE was very imaginitive. A great variety of moods and sounds with some great improvisation. It was full of surprises and was unpredictable. BLIM however approaches elevator music. ...bland, predictible and non very interesting. At least the album cover is great!

I wish whatever they have in the vaults from that third album would be released. Maybe the Japanese will surprise us one day.
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