Bud Shank – Brazilliance Vol. 2

  • Shank’s 1962 collaboration with Laurindo Almeida arrives with a Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) side one and an outstanding Double Plus (A++) side two – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Another superb Rickard Bock production from the early ’60s, with huge amounts of studio space and Tubey Magic to die for
  • The combination of Shank’s sax and flute with Almeida’s Brazilan folk-influenced guitar creates a delightful and unique fusion of bossa nova-influenced jazz
  • These two would go on to form the L.A. 4, but we much prefer their earlier work on this album
  • 4 stars: “…once again combining Brazilian rhythms and folk melodies with cool bop improvising… highly recommended.”
  • If you’re a fan of Bud’s, this vintage record from 1962 belongs in your collection.

This World Pacific 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 studio with the musicians, 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 Brazilliance, Vol.2 from 1962 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 1962
  • 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 studio

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.

Copies with rich lower mids and nice extension up top did the best in our shootout, assuming they weren’t veiled or smeary of course. So many things can go wrong on a record! We know, we’ve heard them all.

Top end extension is critical to the sound of the best copies. Lots of old records (and new ones) have no real top end; consequently, the studio or stage will be missing much of its natural air and space, and instruments will lack their full complement of harmonic information.

Tube smear is common to most vintage pressings and this is no exception. The copies that tend to do the best in a shootout will have the least (or none), yet are full-bodied, tubey and rich.

What We’re Listening For on Brazilliance, Vol. 2

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks for the guitar, saxophone, flute 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 would have put them.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

The Players

Flute, Alto Saxophone – Bud Shank
Guitar – Laurindo Almeida
Bass – Gary Peacock
Drums – Chuck Flores


Side One

Rio Rhapsody 
Little Girl Blue 
Choro In “A”

Side Two

Mood Antigua 
The Color Of Her Hair 
I Didn’t Know What Time It Was 
Carioca Hills

AMG 4 Star Review

Five years after guitarist Laurindo Almeida and altoist Bud Shank had a regular quartet, documented what could be considered the first bossa nova recordings (Brazilliance, Vol. 1), and then disbanded, they had a reunion…. once again combining Brazilian rhythms and folk melodies with cool bop improvising.

This time around, the arrangements are not as restrictive, Shank’s solos are longer, and the jazz content sometimes overrides the Brazilian elements. The music is still quite enjoyable (the very complementary Almeida and Shank would join together again in the 1970s as the L.A. Four) if not as historical; both volumes are highly recommended.

More about Brazilliance, Vol. 2

This album strives to develop an amalgamation of Brazilian music and jazz. In building compositions around his native music, Laurindo finds the improvisatory freedom of jazz blends readily with written Brazilian themes. The two idioms dovetail easily: both are in even tempos, both swing. These compositions approximate what they do in Brazil: a sort of natural fusion of folk and classical elements whereby the folk music absorbs a “nice” influence from classical music. The sambas in this album, for example, attain a higher level than do those at carnival dances in Brazil because they have more organization and abundancy of ideas to be developed.

As the Brazilian folk flavor merges with American jazz, the two musical genres are pointed up in new relief, imbued with new textures and concepts of creativity; each affirms the vitality of the other. “I’m a jazz musician,” emphasizes Bud, “and Laurindo is a Brazilian musician and we each play what we are. I’m trying to cook as much as I can in whatever I do.”

–Mimi Clar