Produced // Nelson Motta
Art Direction // Jorge Davidson
Executive Production // Lula Buarque de Hollanda
Musical Direction // Eduardo Souto Neto
Technical Direction // Sérgio Bittencourt
Recording and Mixing // Sérgio Bittencourt, Renato Luiz e Geraldo Murro
Maintenance Supervision // Jorge Nunes
Recording Assistants // Ricardo e Márcio
Graphic Project // Claudio Torres
Cover Photos // Fotograma do especial Marisa Monte
Inside Cover Photos // Márcia Ramalho CDÆs Art Egeu Laus
Graphical Coordination // Tice Mousinho e Gualter Pupo
Percussion // Marcos Suzano
Bass // Ronaldo Diamante
Trumpet // Saulo Dansa
Electric Guitar // Paulinho Muylaert
Piano // Roberto Alves
Drums // Edu Szajnbrum
Backvocals // Letícia Monte, Suzana Ribeiro e Joana Motta
String Quartet // (Bess you is my woman now)
Violins // Michel Bessier e Bernardo Bessler,
Cello // Jaques Morelenbaum
Viola // Marie Christine Bessler
ABOUT THE DISC
The premiére MM was almost in its totality recorded on the stage of Teatro Villa-Lobos, Rio de Janeiro, in September, 1988. Through this album Marisa opens her way towards the large public, exposing her identity via a repertoire with no frontiers. Here one finds the Portela samba schools Candeia (Preciso me encontrar); the Tropicalist Mutantes (Ando meio desligado); and even the Gershwin brothers (Bess, you is my woman now), besides one of her major hits, Bem que se quis, a version made by Nelson Motta of the composition created by the Italian musician Pino Daniele.
FROM NELSON MOTTA:
I met Marisa Monte when she was 18 years old, by the end of 1985, in Rio de Janeiro. I met her, as a request from my sister, which was a friend with Marisa's mother. She wanted guidance on singing teachers and schools in Rome, Italy, where I was living, and where Marisa was going to study.
The girl had singing lessons since she was 14 years old and wanted to be an opera singer, but she also liked and was very aware about the Jazz culture and the Brazilian music. I gave her some names and addresses, and then I returned to Italy and did not see her again. Months later, when I was in Rome, I heard about her again through the journalist Monica Falcone. Marisa was going to study in Venice, and was staying at a friend's house; she also told me that those few months in Rome had been enough to understand that she would not be happy living outside of Brazil and that in order to make a career in the Opera she would need to live abroad.
Marisa thought that her brief experience through the Italian academies and Italian teachers was not something she was looking forward to repeat. She was determined on going back to Brazil. But the next day she would perform in an improvised little show at a Venice bar, accompanied only by her friend, Roberto Bortolucci, in the acoustic guitar. Roberto was a great musician and also a cameriere, married with a Brazilian beauty, he was a MPB enthusiast and a master of rhythms and harmonies for the main songs of Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil and many others....
I decided to leave for Venice, senselessly, instinctively and intuitively. I have heard only her humming in my house and I just felt she had a beautiful tone. In Venice, at a small open bar to the sidewalk, with a medium quality microphone, she starts to sing, and what a voice! The audience, no more than fifty people, liked her and started to cheer her, even more at each song. More people starts to gather outside the bar, there is even people at the edge of the channel, applauding. The girl had not only a beautiful voice, but she sang very beautifully, with style. I went back to Rome.
I returned to Brazil in March ‘87 and Marisa came to me to say she had decided to sing professionally, she told me that she now had a producer - Lula Buarque de Hollanda - and that she would perform a show directed by Rogéria Werneck. Marisa wanted to talk about her repertoire.
Hearing her sing Tim Maia, Tom Jobim, Caetano Veloso, Maria Callas, Roberto Carlos, Billie...- sorry, Elis Regina - I offered to direct her. We started rehearsing with a young piano student, Luiz Eca, after gathering an early repertoire that had a bit of blues, samba, bossa nova, funk. We spent a couple of months on it, seeking melodies and rhythms, tones and expressions, exercising styles. We called a bass player; a percussionist, who was a friend of Marisa, came up with a drummer and Lula hired the entire band to rehearse for the four day JazzMania festival, two months later.
On September 23rd, she made her debut to an almost sold out JazzMania festival. The microphone sound was bad, but the band was tight, and after a nervous and much applauded opening set, she returned with a rendition of the song "Negro Gato", turning it into a heavy bluesy-rock, and she nailed it. Among those who most applauded and cheered her were Sylvia Monique Gardemberg, Marina, Patricia Travassos, Euclydes Marino and Leo Jaime. In the second night the sound was improved and she made a great performance, singing "Speak Low" by Kurt Weil; "Chocolate", by Tim Maia; a torrid blues version of "Samba e Amor", by Chico Buarque, and "Cartão Postal", which was a beautiful blues wrote by Rita Lee and Paulo Coelho, in the early '70s. Marisa had discovered and invented a more modern way of interpreting the songs, among other various genres, some more and others less suited to her voice and temper.
Marisa was experiencing it to the fullest, within all genres, searching for her own style of expressing her music, in a different way - the way she liked to sing - harmonizing the songs with her vast vocal technique, gained through her long and hard lyrical learning. She was provided with an intense musicality and an indefatigable and almost obsessive curiosity to listen and learn from the greatest artists, schools and latitudes of all time. On the third morning, the entire first page of the "Caderno B" in the Jornal do Brasil contained a critic review by Alfredo Ribeiro and a great photo of Marisa with the classic headline: "A Star Is Born." It heralded the arrival of a future great singer and gave five stars to her performance. At the same night, the JazzMania was overcrowded and the next day was completely sold out. In the both following nights, Marisa sang very well, and was acclaimed and praised by the likes of Mariah Carey, Perfeito Fortuna, Bernardo Vilhena, Marília Pera, Bruno Barreto, Regina Casé and Caetano Veloso. Maria Bethânia, like Marina, also praised her, for her beautiful tone, musicality and personality - to them she was unique. "I want to sing to delight and thrill my audience," says Marisa.
Almost two months later, with a slightly modified repertoire, and now with the addition of a trumpeter to the band, she returned to JazzMania for other four nights. On the first day, the entire four days were already sold out. Her performances were beautiful, safer and much more applauded by a now standing audience, which is not very common in bars. She received another great review by Paul Adário of the Jornal do Brasil. The show was called "Tudo Veludo" (All Velvet) and it featured, within the sad and dramatic song by Lobão and Bernardo, one of the most beautiful moments of her performance.
On January of '88, Marisa was praised as the "revelation of the year" by the press in Rio de Janeiro. She made her first theater season, at the Casa de Cultura Laura Alvim. In midsummer, the air conditioning broke and the heat was unbearable. But no one was willing to left the place, everyone was drenched in sweat, each night, for two weeks, and the tickets were sold out days in advance. She was seen and heard by Sérgio Augusto, who wrote a whole page review for the Folha de São Paulo newspaper. He was mesmerized by this new singer and - among other enthusiasms – praised her as "the greatest vocal talent since Gal Costa." Gal came to her concerts at the Teatro Ipanema. She cheered her voice and, in Argentina, she gave an interview saying that Marisa was, beside Cazuza, one of the best things in the Brazilian music scene and, even not yet with a well-defined repertoire, “would be placed, without no doubt as one of the greatest Brazilian singers of an era.” Marisa's debut on the stage was at the age of 15, in a rendition of the "Rock Horror Show", directed by Miguel Falabella, with the students of the college Andrews, in 1982. Followed by that, she had a small role singing in the "Blue" musical, by André Felipe Mauro. She made semiprofessional performances in the "O Viro da Ipiranga" and "Double Dose" bars, in the southern area of Rio de Janeiro.
On March 4 and 5, of 1988, Marisa performed for the first time in São Paulo. She was invited to the Nouvelle Cuisine at the Grande Auditório of MASP. The overcrowded audience applauded so much that, in both nights, they had an encore for "Bess You Is My Woman Now" from the "Porgy and Bess" opera, by Gershwin. Her duo with Carlos Fernando was greeted with enthusiasm by the São Paulo press and two weeks later she was performing for five nights in a roll into an overcrowded Aeroanta with her "Aeroshow" - a more compact version of the show that she would perform on the following week at the Grande Auditório of MASP. During her season in Aeroanta there was always more than 200 spectators beyond the full capacity of the venue, they would gather across the floor and corridors, standing and applauding every night. She received excellent reviews and her first press controversy. The show was called "Cantando na Avenida" (Singing in the Avenue).
After that, she performed at the Teatro Ipanema: two sold out weeks with great reviews by the O Globo, Jornal do Brasil and Última Hora newspapers. “An absolutely extraordinary talent” (Paulo Adário – JB). At the “Show do Ipanema”, Marisa added the “Lenda das Sereias” samba to her repertoire, with afro arrangements, also turning a little poem by Octavio Paz into a song by the opening of “Blanco”. The band was now added by a guitar player and three backing vocals, that a follow her since her season at the Casa de Cultura Laura Alvim.
In Belo Horizonte, she performed at the Cabaret Mineiro for three sold out nights with the same sextet, but without the backing vocals. The reviews were more than great. She returned to São Paulo with the show "Volta a Sampa" (Back to Sampa). In July she performed for a week at the MASP and one more week at the Teatro Cultura Artística. The same thing happened. By the end of September she had five shows at the Teatro Villa-Lobos, in Rio de Janeiro, built especially to be recorded live by the EMI-Odeon record company and filmed for a TV special for the TV Manchete. The first album is a result of these live recordings held on September 30, and October 1, 2 and 3 of '88. In the studio, among the various versions of 16 songs, 11 were selected to cut for the album, which received minor corrections and additions and some instrumental countermelodies that Marisa created over the recorded material. In the studio, with the other musicians, a new live version of "Speak Low" - under the inspiration of João Gilberto – was recorded.