Francisco Tenório Cerqueira Junior was a Brazilian jazz pianist and member of the band Os Cobras. Tenório Jr. only released one album as a bandleader, but was widely known as a virtuoso pianist and has amassed credits for playing in landmark sessions with Gal Costa, Bud Shank and a who's who of Brazilian samba players. Embalo has become somewhat of a holy grail for bossa nova and samba-jazz heads for its stripped down arrangement, frenetic piano playing and potent grooves, which make it somewhat of a samba equivalent to Ahmad Jamal Trio's The Awakening (and it comes right on time as both are being reissued this month). Embalo sees Tenório and his band take on Brazilian standards by Tom Jobim, Baden Powell and Vinicius De Moraes in addition to five originals, including the criminally short but excellent "Nebulosa" which has been getting rinsed in sets by Floating Points and Gilles Peterson (also selected by Masters At Work as a bonus track for their Brazilian Beat 12" in 2000). Thanks to snowballing interest in hard-to-find Brazilian records of the 60s and 70s, Embalo is finally back in print for the first time in nearly 30 years (not counting an extremely limited blink-and-you'll-miss-it Japanese pressing in 2008), just in time for the hot summer nights ahead. Recommended.
- music label: Mr Bongo 2017
reviewed by nick nightingale 04/2017