For Gato Barbieri

Gato Barbieri died last Saturday, 2nd April 2016, at the age of 83. He was a great and memorable saxophonist with a big-hearted sound (later celebrated as Zoot, the saxophone-playing puppet in The Muppet Show). I first knew him from recordings with Charlie Haden and Carla Bley, particularly Liberation Music Orchestra in 1969, an album that opened the door to so much influential music. This live recording of Brasil is from the 1971 Montreux Jazz Festival (released as El Pampero) with Lonnie Liston Smith on piano, Chuck Rainey on electric bass, Bernard Purdie on drums, Sonny Morgan on conga and Naná Vasconcelos on percussion and berimbau. It may not be completely representative of his best work, but it is wonderful and impassioned and a good way to remember him (I chose it for my daughter who is presently in Brazil, dancing capoeira and playing berimbau).

For a fuller tribute see Gato Barbieri 1932-2016 by Richard Williams.

Frames of reference

For Naná Vasconcelos

Here’s a reminder of the great Brazilian percussionist Naná Vasconcelos, who died too soon last week aged only 71. I was fortunate to see him once, performing with Don Cherry and I heard him many times on recordings by Codona, Talking Heads, Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti, Pat Metheny, Caetano Veloso, Laurie Anderson and Penguin Café Orchestra, as well as many albums under his own name. He was a master of the berimbau, a single-string percussion instrument, the soul of Capoeira.

Frames of reference