Bola Sete – At The Monterey Jazz Festival

More Bola Sete

More Bossa Nova

  • Sete’s superb trio album from 1967 makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish, right up there with our Shootout Winner
  • We are big fans of Bola Sete here – his Tour De Force has been a favorite of ours for more than twenty years (if only we could find clean, good sounding copies to sell)
  • Recorded in 1966, this vintage stereo pressing boasts exceptionally natural guitar sound, as well as note-like bass and the kind of energy you rarely get outside of a live performance
  • “Soulful, unpretentious, unaffected, intimate, candid, organic Afro-Brazilian jazz.”

This original Verve T-Label Stereo pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the audience, live at the Monterey Jazz Festival, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the best sides of Bola Sete at the Monterey Jazz Festival have to offer is not hard to hear: 

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1967
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the festival

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above.

Brilliant Engineering

Val Valentin did an amazing job with the recording of Bola Sete’s live at Montreux album. His list of engineering credits runs for days. Some high points are of course Ella and Louis, followed by Getz/Gilberto, two records that belong in any right-thinking audiophile’s collection.

We played a copy of We Get Requests by the Oscar Peterson Trio not long ago that blew our minds. And we have been big fans of Mel Tormé Swings Shubert Alley for more than a decade.

Pull up his credits on Allmusic. No one I am familiar with other than Rudy Van Gelder recorded more great jazz, and in our opinion Valentin’s recordings are quite a bit more natural sounding than Rudy’s.

What We’re Listening For on Bola Sete at the Monterey Jazz Festival

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks for the guitar and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
  • Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering — which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The musicians aren’t “back there” somewhere, way behind the speakers. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt — Val Valentin in this case — would have put them.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

The Players

Bass – Sebastian Neto
Drums – Paulinho
Guitar – Bola Sete

Digging Creed Taylor Inc.

We’ve been really digging these CREED TAYLOR productions for years now. On the better albums such as this one, the players tend to sound carefree and loose — you can tell they’re enjoying the hell out of these songs. Don’t get me wrong — we still love the Blue Note and Contemporary label stuff for our more “hard core” jazz needs, but it’s a kick to hear top jazz musicians laying down these grooves and not taking themselves so seriously… especially when it sounds as good as this copy does.


Side One


Manha de Carnaval
A Felicidade
Samba de Orfeu

Side Two

Soul Samba

I bought this in vinyl (obviously) in 1973, when I was 17, and I’ve been listening to it and loving it ever since. Could there be a higher compliment?

Soulful, unpretentious, un-affected, intimate, candid, organic Afro-Brazilian jazz. The musicians are effortlessly masterful, without losing personality. They play games with each other, wrap melodies and percussion around each other, and provide the listener with pleasure, stimulation, and reward after reward. There are moments of humor, climaxes with the crowd roaring approval, and spontaneity is constant.

Thanks to this album, I’ve been listening to Brazilian jazz for three decades. I enjoy all the usual old suspects, Jobim, Joao, Getz, Gilberto, but Bola Sete at Monterey is personal, raw-er, more authentic…

— Peter Bridge