As I dig down into their catalogs I’m discovering that these musicians were part of a universe of players back in the day who seemed to help each other out as they moved forward in their careers.
Along the way in the past few weeks I learned that Real Gone Music had reissued two of Brazilian percussion great Airto’s earliest albums which originally appeared in America on the Buddah Records label and are now significant collector’s pieces. I’ve never seen either of these albums out in the wilds.
As I dug into my research I learned that both Hermeto Pascoal and Sivuca as well as Flora Purim were on these albums! So, I made a mental note to track copies down soon.
The very next day at Amoeba Music I found a brand new copy of that first Airto album, Natural Feelings, on sale!
Natural Feelings is a pretty amazing recording which crosses boundaries from Bossa Nova to the more out and experimental sides of jazz fusion which was just just beginning to emerge at that time. The music even gets a bit psychedelic.
Natural Feelings is thus a bit of a trip and it works really well. Hermeto plays organ, piano, harpsichord and flute, Sivuca is on guitar and bassist Ron Carter brings up the low end.
“Terror” feels like a cross between Miles Davis’ more outside musics from the period and some of Frank Zappa’s work on Uncle Meat and Burnt Weeny Sandwich.
Like many of you I first knew of Airto from his 70s albums on the CTI label as well as a multitude of appearances on other artists records including Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Paul Desmond, Gato Barbieri, Mickey Hart, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hubert Laws and many others. The man was busy, with a capitol B!
So how does Natural Feelings sound?
All in all, its quite wonderful. The vinyl is dark, quiet, reasonably thick and well centered. I do suspect it might made be from a digital source. I mean… it stands to reason…. what is the likelihood that these original master tapes would be sent to a boutique reissue label doing a small run of 500 copies (if the tapes even exist anymore)?
But just the fact that Natural Feelings has been reissued at all is a wonderful thing. So, sure, there is a bit of that compressed-but-crisp high end going on here but nothing horrible that makes the music unlistenable. Just don’t come into this expecting buckets of analog warmth. For that reason, I’ll continue to try to track down original pressings.
The cover art on Natural Feelings features trippy snippets of a work by Dutch surrealist painter Heironymous Bosch and it looks quite nice all things considered. I like that the folks at Real Gone Records attempted to make the labels appear close to period-accurate by mimicking the quasi-tie-dye background look/feel of the classic Buddah Records label.
All in all, this is a timeless sounding Latin jazz fusion session that is full of joy and… well…. Natural Feelings. It even includes Hermeto’s beautiful song “The Tunnel” which Sivuca also covered on his 1973 album on Vanguard Records.
Community, love, musicians all supporting one another in free spirited music unconstrained by conventions of time and place. That is a vibe I can groove on. Natural Feelings, indeed.