Marcos Valle Celebrates 50th Anniversary in Music

Stacey & Marcos "Ao Vivo"The 71 year old released his first album back in 1964: “Samba Demais”. And it was as early as the mid 60s that he had his first hits like “Samba De Verao”, also known as “Summer Samba”. His international career in the ensuing decades incorporated Jazz, Pop, Electronic, Soul and Reggae and his songs were recorded by Oscar Peterson, Diana Krall, Eumir Deodato, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Mathis, and Chicago.

For his 50th anniversary album, Marcos got together with singer Stacey Kent, who always had a knack for Brazilian music. Together they recorded “Ao Vivo”, a live album which showcases Valle’s tremendous work as a composer, arranger, musician and singer, even though the majority of the songs are sung by Kent. Some of the songs are instrumentals, some of the songs feature saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, who is Stacey’s husband and who co-produced the album with Valle.

The last time I talked to Stacey, she was full of admiration for the Brazilian icon and was very proud to have the chance to record and perform with him. You not only get some classic Valle repertoire here (“Os Grilos”, “Batucada”, “Samba De Verao”), but also some instrumentals, some World Music and Pop. Stacey sings “If You Went Away”, the song Marcos wrote together with composer Ray Gilbert, or “The Face I Love” as if they have always been part of her musical heritage. She’s fluent in French and Portuguese and has this light, almost eerie touch when she sings which clearly makes her sound unique. Highlight of the album for me is “La Petite Valse” which is simply stunning.

This surely is a match made in heaven even if Valle’s vocals are missing from time to time. They both celebreate the album’s release (December 5th) with a five-night stint at New York’s Birdland from Dec 9th-13th. Stacey is back on the road in France and the UK in April.


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