World & Latin

Odd Man In


Early in his career, Brazilian guitarist Djalma de Andrade was the only black man in his first jazz gigs in his native Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s. Based on this demographic imbalance, he earned the nickname Bola Sete, the name for the 7-ball in the Brazilian version of billiards, which is the only black one in the game. His clever stage name notwithstanding, Bola Sete is by no means the odd man out on Tour De Force.

A trio date that features Fred Schrieber on bass and John Rae on drums, Tour De Force was originally released as an LP on Fantasy in 1964, then re-released on CD in 1999. It is a bit more mellow than the spirited and driving Bossa Nova (his debut recording in 1962), but no less satisfying.

Three of the tracks are originals, and the rest are well known Brazilian songs like the brief but seductive "Manhã de Carnaval" and the lively "Samba de Orféu." There is also an eclectic mix of covers, including Henry Mancini's "Moon River" and the title track by Dizzy Gillespie, who had discovered the guitarist just a couple years earlier and introduced him to the world via the 1962 Monterey Jazz Festival.

Perhaps most intriguing, though, are the songs culled from European sources -- Isaac Albeniz's flamenco-styled "Asturias" and a solo interpretation of J.S. Bach's "Bourrée." While he may have felt outnumbered in his early days, Bola Sete had clearly developed the confidence to take on the world by the mid-point of his career.