A very serious case, Jards Macalé's first solo album. Marked by partnerships with unsuspected lyricists – the poets José Carlos Capinam, Torquato Neto, Duda Machado and Waly Salomão, and the composers Luiz Melodia and Gilberto Gil – the biscuit thin, launched by Philips in 1972, also had the participation of two of most expressive musicians of the generation that modernized the country's popular music at the turn of the 1960s to the 1970s: drummer Tutty Moreno (husband of singer Joyce, then married to Nelson Ângelo) and arsonist Lanny Gordin, who left the post of guitar-hero from Tropicália to take on guitar and electric bass on the LP.

But before we talk about Jards Macale, as the composer's eponymous debut was simply titled, let's make a brief retrospect of the paths that led the carioca artist to this first solo record impregnated with brilliance and the impetus to “detune the choir of the content”.

Born in the North Zone, in the Tijuca neighborhood, on March 3, 1943, he was baptized Jards Anet da Silva. At the age of 8, he left with his parents and younger brother, Roberto, for Ipanema. In the South zone he soon gained the nickname, alluding to the name of the worst player in the Botafogo club, a joke that he would later adopt as his artistic surname.

If the Jards boy's performance in the lowland fields was mediocre, worthy of a Macalé, his vocation as an ace of popular music emerged from an early age, influenced by two amateurs passionate about music: his father, an accordionist, and his mother, an excellent pianist and singer. Together with them and his brother, Macalé participated at home in frequent musical gatherings to the sound of foxes and waltzes. In addition to the genres of foreign tradition, the intrusive samba, coming from the neighboring Morro do Formiga, was also gradually making the boy's head.

As a teenager, his friendship with Chiquinho Araújo, son of conductor Severino Araújo of the Tabajara Orchestra, was decisive in transforming him into the aspiring artist who would consolidate in the 1970s – not without a lot of turmoil, as we will see.

Alongside Chiquinho, Macalé had access to restricted spaces of the extinct Rádio Mayrink Veiga. He was able, for example, to check closely concerts conducted by Severino, many of them impregnated with maracatus, choros and frevos. He was also able to access valuable phonograph records of jazz big-bands, such as those of Billy Butterfield, Ted Heath and Stan Kenton.

It was alongside fellow drummer Chiquinho and friend Jota, an engineering student and flutist, that Macalé, assuming the role of guitarist, formed his first group, called Três no Balanço. Ephemeral in life, the trio gave way to the Fantasia de Garoto Set. Shortly afterwards, in the first half of the 1960s, he decided to dive into sheet music: he took piano and orchestration lessons with maestro César Guerra-Peixe; musical analysis with Ester Scliar; on cello with Peter Dauelsberg; and guitar with Turíbio Santos and Jodacil Damasceno.

Cover of the eponymous 1972 LP. Photo: Publicity / Philips

The immersion made Macalé a well-known subject among his musical peers from the South zone. In 1963, in Rio de Janeiro, he met Caetano Veloso, whom he called “Caio”. Knowing the soteropolitan ebullition – in the nascent music scene of those days, artists such as Gil, Gal, Bethânia and Tom Zé emerged – he regretted not having been able to follow Caetano on his return to Bahia. Two years later, when the “Grupo Baiano”, as defined by Augusto de Campos, moved to the RJ/SP axis, Macalé began to sign the musical direction of Bethânia's first Rio shows.

In 1966, armed with the newly acquired theoretical knowledge, he started working for producer Guilherme Araújo, signing the musical direction and playing shows at the Cangaceiro nightclub. One of those shows, So it is, was written by Caetano and Suzana de Moraes and brought together songs performed by Vinicius de Moraes (Suzana's father), Bethânia and Francis Hime, under the direction of actor Nelson Xavier. Despite so many attractions, So it is failed and Macalé then embarked on a transitory and unstable period, marked by the compulsive listening to jazz produced between the 1940s and 60s and an immersion in the bossa nova discography, influenced by her friend Silvinha Telles.

A new artistic partnership, with José Carlos Capinam, would yield more generous fruits for the composer. Alongside the Bahian poet Macalé, he founded the production company Tropicarte and wrote a series of anthological songs, such as Pulsar and Quasars, included on Gal Costa's 1969 album, the singer's second solo effort, informally known as Culture and Civilization. Recorded at the end of the previous year, Gal's explosive album had arrangements written by the tropicalist maestro Rogério Duprat, who had Macalé as an assistant.

Shortly afterwards, accompanied by the group Os Brazões, by Miguel de Deus, Macalé starred in an embryonic episode for his eternal label of “crazy” and “damned”: he took the stage of the IV Festival Internacional da Canção in 1969 to defend a new partnership with Capinam, the apocalyptic Gotham City. Far from awakening the public's empathy – young, however, conservative and patrolling a certain anti-imperialism – Macalé was the target of a historic boo and expression of revulsion.

Detail of the back cover of the eponymous 1972 album with the musicians gathered on the record, drummer Tutty Moreno and guitarist Lanny Gordin, Photo: Disclosure / Philips

“In the work sense it was fantastic, now in the commercial sense it was very violent. It didn't work. Rogério Duprat made an arrangement that, in the end, the orchestra had to go crazy, completely schizophrenic. Maestro Tavares – who was going to conduct – was pissed off. He was taking it seriously, but when he saw that we were singing and screaming, he refused to conduct. And who ended up conducting was Erlon Chaves”, recalled Macalé, in an interview with reporter Wilson Moheardui, from the magazine the cable car, in February 1972.

Despite being booed and harassed, unshakable, Jards went on with a new group, called Soma, which included in its formation one of the few divergences from the grimace of the audience at the 1969 festival, the percussionist Naná Vasconcelos. According to Macalé, shortly after the performance he was approached by Naná with the following sentence: “My brother, I love you. Can I get in on this?”. to which the composer of Gotham City would have said, "You're done, boy!"

The Jards/Naná/Soma experience yielded the beautiful compact Just Dead/Burning Night, which also contains the compositions hiccups, The crime e without this. So rejected in stores – “Macalé, that madman? Não Quero, não!”, said the dealers – the composer preferred to order the record company RGE to withdraw the work from circulation. Marketing censorship that put the artist on a long sabbatical.

“The thing was to take it to total radicalism and go to the other side, both in relation to my music and in relation to what was happening. It popped right away. But then, after Gotham City, I gained an incredible dislike. They said I was crazy. I spent two years without any possibility. No record company wanted to accept my figure anymore”, recalled Macalé in the interview with the cable car.

It was in this lethargic context that, accompanied by his wife Giselda, the composer went to spend the 1971 carnival in Salvador, in the company of Bethânia. A few days before, she had received an urgent message from her brother Caetano, then exiled in London. The Bahian wanted Macalé to leave immediately for the English capital to assume the musical direction of his new album. Flattered by the invitation, however, lacking the financial resources to accept it, Macalé thanked him and returned to Rio. A week after Carnival came the good news: Caetano would bear his and Giselda's expenses because, according to Bethânia, he would only make the album if it was with Macalé in charge.

“We didn't even have material to work with. It was all improvised: Caetano with his guitar and I with mine to harmonically sustain his. There was a great deal. And not only in the musical sense, which became more refined. In individual terms, my enrichment was very great. I watched everything and listened to Gil and Caetano's conversation a lot. I could handle the whole bar of the group relationship, holding the ends to keep the group together.”

It was thus, in this relaxed atmosphere, of gradual creation, that what is considered by many to be the masterpiece of Caetano's discography was born, the album sex, completed in Brazil shortly after the Bahian returned from exile, in early 1972. sex It also became famous for two reasons. One of them, not very noble: the breakup of the friendship between Macalé and Caetano, because the Bahian would have purposely not credited his friend's musical direction in the album's booklet (Caetano still says that it was a printing error by Philips). Positive fact: the album served as a warm-up for the trip of aces Jards, Lanny and Tutty.

Listen below to the chaotic performance of Gotham City in the FIC of 1969

The closeness, the regular interaction and the intense musical dialogues allowed Macalé to enter the studio, finish the work and place his exquisite solo album on the market, one of the most remarkable debuts of the generation of popular music artists that emerged in the second half of the 20th century. XNUMX in Brazil.

With arrangements written by Macalé, Lanny and Tutty, the album has a five-star repertoire. Composed of four hands, with Capinam: Flour of Contempt, 78 rotations, My love, hold me and moan and tremble and cry e Kill and the exciting Boat Movement. Written with Wally, reviewing friends e Secret Evil. Unique, but memorable, partnership with Torquato: Let's Play That. The album still has gems from Gil and Luiz Melodia: human rag e The death. Closing the repertoire, Duda Machado signs “only” one, the sweeping Hotel of the Stars, revealed months earlier in Gal's poignant performance during the show Fa-Tal – Full-Step Gal, the subject of our last column.

Although the album provided a greater understanding of Macalé's work, he continued to follow on the sidelines, without making concessions. Among his most significant works are albums full of the same energy and inventiveness, such as Learn to swim (the second, from 1974), Contrasts (1977) and Let's Play That (from 1983, the latter was made in partnership with his friend Naná Vasconcelos).

In 1973, Macalé also conceived a concert to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The meeting resulted in the double album The Beggars' Banquet and brought together artists such as Paulinho da Vila, Milton Nascimento, Gal Costa, Edu Lobo, Chico Buarque, Raul Seixas, among others. Also mandatory is the partnership between Jards and the master Kid Morangueira, or rather, Moreira da Silva.

Happy listening and until the next Quintessence!

Originally published on the magazine's website Brazilian in 10.4.2014

Listen to the full album Jards Macale


read the report Macalé's diaries, an immersion, over a week, in the production process of the show Sinfonia de Jards, presented in 2011 at Teatro Oficina, in São Paulo

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