RODRIGUES Amalia & Don BYAS 1973

A unique moment forever captured on record. Over the course of one single night, Amalia and Don Byas met in a recording studio to perform a number of her classics. All original first-take performances. Amalia's voice is at her very best and Don getting deeper in the fado at each song...

AMALIA RODRIGUES...

The unrivaled queen of the Portuguese fado, singer Amalia Rodrigues was born in Lisbon's Alfama district in 1920; one of ten children, she was abandoned by her mother at the age of one and raised by her grandmother, spending her formative years selling produce on the streets and working as a seamstress. Against the wishes of her family, as a teen Rodrigues performed as a tango dancer, and at 19 she made her professional singing debut alongside her sister, Celeste, at the fashionable Lisbon nightspot Retiro da Severa.
Within a year she was a star, selling out clubs every night; in 1944, she traveled to Brazil, drawing huge crowds during her stay at the Copacabana Casino and later returning to Rio de Janeiro to make her first recordings. Rodrigues not only popularized the fado throughout South America, she reinvented it -brilliantly fusing the urban and rural styles of Lisbon and Coimbra, she also sought out material that moved far beyond the traditional tales of failed romance to explore instead the deepest crises of the soul and spirit, delivering performances unmatched in their fatalistic power and haunting beauty.
Because Rodrigues' manager, José de Melo, believed her native fans would stop attending her live appearances if they could buy her recordings, she did not enter a Portuguese recording studio until 1951, issuing a handful of sides on the Melodia label before moving to the Valentim de Carvalho imprint the following year.
In all, Rodrigues recorded upwards of 170 albums and even appeared in a number of feature films, retaining her drawing power even after the popularity of fado itself began to dissipate during the 1960s. She continued touring well past her 70th birthday, entering retirement only after undergoing surgery; she spent the final years of her life as a recluse, making her final public appearance at the opening of Lisbon's Expo in 1998. Rodrigues died October 1999, at the age of 79; upon receiving news of her passing, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres ordered three days of national mourning, declaring her "the Voice of Portugal."
DON BYAS...

One of the greatest of all tenor players, Don Byas' decision to move permanently to Europe in 1946 resulted in him being vastly underrated in jazz history books. His knowledge of chords rivalled Coleman Hawkins, and, due to their similarity in tones, Byas can be considered an extension of the elder tenor. He played with many top swing bands, including those of Lionel Hampton (1935), Buck Clayton (1936), Don Redman, Lucky Millinder, Andy Kirk (1939-1940), and most importantly Count Basie (1941-1943). An advanced swing stylist, Byas' playing looked toward bop. He jammed at Minton's Playhouse in the early '40s, appeared on 52nd Street with Dizzy Gillespie, and performed a pair of stunning duets with bassist Slam Stewart at a 1944 Town Hall concert. After recording extensively during 1945-1946 (often as a leader), Byas went to Europe with Don Redman's band, and (with the exception of a 1970 appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival) never came back to the U.S. He lived in France, the Netherlands, and Denmark; often appeared at festivals; and worked steadily. Whenever American players were touring, they would ask for Byas, who had opportunities to perform with Duke Ellington, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke, Dizzy Gillespie, Jazz at the Philharmonic (including a recorded tenor battle with Hawkins and Stan Getz), Art Blakey, and (on a 1968 recording) Ben Webster. Byas also recorded often in the 1950s, but was largely forgotten in the U.S. by the time of his death.

Original lp cover on the right >>>

Amalia & Don LP 1973

2 comments:

josh said...

For fans of fado, this album would probably be great. I can really only listen to one song of fado before wearying of it. However, the singing on this album is great, and it was a pleasure to be enlighted and taught of the "voice of Portugal." Don Byas seems a mere accompanist on this album. Hopefully, Daniel will post later (50's, 60's?) Byas tracks. I think I found the jazz mp3 blog I was looking for.

Josh Abrams, Minnesota, USA

josh said...

For fans of fado, this album would probably be great. I can really only listen to one song of fado before wearying of it. However, the singing on this album is great, and it was a pleasure to be enlighted and taught of the "voice of Portugal." Don Byas seems a mere accompanist on this album. Hopefully, Daniel will post later (50's, 60's?) Byas tracks. I think I found the jazz mp3 blog I was looking for.

Josh Abrams, Minnesota, USA