Song of the Day: Joao Donato “Chorou Chorou”
From the 1973 album “Quem e Quem,” this is a mellow groover from the Brazilian musical icon, Joao Donato. This rare album has been treasured by DJ’s, rare-groove heads, and lovers of Brazilian MPB music for decades. Donato brings together a wide array of skills and talents from producing & arranging, to incredible piano artistry and down-to-earth understated vocal delivery. The album itself tells a story from beginning to end, moving in and out of multiple styles, tempos and atmospheres. Through it all, the work retains a consistently impeccable melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic sensibility, stemming from Joao‘s compositional genius.
“Chorou Chourou” opens the album and sets a whimsical and light, yet deeply funky tone for what’s to come. Donato‘s masterful Fender Rhodes (electric piano) playing bouncing atop the lively, percussion laden groove is enough in and of itself to add some sunshine to my day. Check out this man’s playful, dancing solo on this tune and the drummer’s syncopation underneath starting at around 1:25 and tell me it didn’t put a little spring in your step!
Joao Donato was born in Rio Branco in the state of Acre, Brazil in August of 1934. His first instrument was accordion and he completed his fist composition, the waltz “Nini,” at the age of 8. Something of a child prodigy, it took him some time to find success and exposure, but by age 15, he was a full-fledged professional musician as a pianist/accordionist, exchanging licks with high profile musicians at the now-legendary jam sessions held at the iconic Dick Farney‘s house. He very quickly went on to work with the likes of Joao Gilberto, Gilberto Gil, Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, and Marcos Valle, to name a few. His discography which runs from 1949 to the present day reads like a whose who of Brazilian popular music. His approach to the piano, to musical composition, and to arranging is unmistakably all his own and at 83 years old, he’s still at it! Obrigado Senor Donato!!!