Born on Aug. 6, 1937
Died on Sept. 26, 2000
Baden Powell is a Brazilian musician with
a solid international reputation. A gifted instrumentalist and composer,
bridging the gap between classical artistry and popular warmth, he was
a key figure in the bossa nova movement.
Born at the Varre e Sai district, he was
baptized after his grandfather, a musician and conductor
himself, whose father was an admirer of the Boy Scouts founder. When he
was four months old, his family
moved to the hill of São Cristóvão, in the city of
Rio. His father, the violonista Lino de Aquino,
promoted regular get-togethers (rodas) of chorões at his home, in
which famous names of Rio's music
used to play, such as Pixinguinha, his brother China, the sambista Donga
and so many others. At eight, his father
took him to the Rádio Nacional, where Baden met Meira (Jaime Florence),
a famous violonista, at the time
a member of Benedito Lacerda's regional.
Baden would study violão with him
for five years. Through Meira,
a broad-minded musician, he discovered classics such as Segovia and Tarrega,
along with Brazilian masters such as Garoto and Dilermando Reis. At nine
he presented himself at Renato Murce's show Papel Carbono, at the Rádio
Nacional, winning the first place as guitar soloist. At 13, he used to
run from school, earning his first cachets in the neighborhood parties.
After finishing high-school, he joined the cast of Rádio Nacional
as accompanist. In that time, he traveled through Brazil with the radio's
In 1955, he joined Ed Lincoln's trio,
playing jazz at the Plaza nightclub.
The place was a focal point for musicians, journalists and aficionados
interested in jazz. It should
be regarded as the second place where bossa nova was being generated (the
first being Cantina do César,
after Johnny Alf's first appearances), contrarily to the common notion
of the bossa being born at Zona
Sul (South side)'s apartments. At that time, Baden began to compose: "Deve
Ser Amor", "Encontro Com a Saudade",
"Não é Bem Assim", and his first big hit, 1956's "Samba Triste",
with lyrics by Billy Blanco, which would be recorded by Lúcio Alves
in 1960. In 1962, he met his future partner Vinícius de Moraes,
composer, poet, singer and diplomat.
Their first song was "Canção
de Ninar Meu Bem", a great success from the beginning. Following,
they'd come up with "Samba em
prelúdio" (recorded still in 1962 by Geraldo Vandré/Ana Lúcia),
"Consolação" (recorded by Nara
Leão), "Samba da bênção", "Tem dó", "Só
por amor", "Bom dia, amigo", "Labareda" and "Samba do
astronauta" (recorded by Baden in 1964). At this point, Baden was already
a renowned musician and composer,
with good connections with the artistic scenery and wide exposure at the
media. In that year, he accompanied
Sílvia Telles in her famous show at the Jirau nightclub. In 1963,
he recorded his first Lp, Um
violão na madrugada (Philips). In that year he traveled to Paris,
where he presented himself at
the Olympia theater, with great success, with a repertoire of classical
music and his own compositions.
He also played regularly in a season at
the Bilboquet nightclub and composed the soundtrack of the movie Le Grabuje.
In 1964 he returned to Brazil, recording the Lp À vontade, which
included a composition by Tom Jobim and Vinícius, "Samba do avião".
He also wrote, in that year, the
samba "Berimbau", with lyrics by Vinícius. Other duo's compositions
in that year were "Além do
amor", "Valsa sem nome", "Deve ser amor", "Canção do amor
ausente", "Consolação", "Deixa", "Amei
tanto", "Tempo feliz" and "Samba da Bênção". The latter
was included in Claude Lelouch's movie Un
Homme et Une Femme, under the title "Samba Saravah".
Traveling to Bahia, Baden stayed there
for six months, researching the afro traditions developed in
Brazilian soil, especially the musical tradition emanated from the ancient
sorcery rituals of candomblé
and umbanda. The next phase of his compositional association with Vinícius
would be called by Baden as the afro-sambas,
mirroring the findings of that period: 1965's "Tristeza e solidão"
and "Bocoché", 1966's
"Canto do Xangô" and "Canto de Ossanha", this latter recorded by
Elis Regina in 1966 with great
success. Taking Bahia folklore, Baden added his Carioca touch, bringing
the afro tradition to a more
Brazilian feeling. In 1999, Baden, recently converted, regretted and deplored
the afro-samba phase as "devil's
music" in a controverted and disappointing interview.
In 1965, fundamental singer Elizeth Cardoso
presented Baden/Vinícius's "Valsa do amor que não vem" at
the first Festival of Brazilian Popular Music, from TV Excelsior, São
Paulo, classifying it in the second place. Next year, Aluísio de
Oliveira produced another album by Baden, this time for his own landmark
label Elenco, deeply engaged in the registration of the best musicians,
leaving the commercial side in the background - unfortunately causing the
excellent label's demise, some years later.
advantage of the Brazilian tour of Caterina Valente, who was being accompanied
by the drummer Jimmy Pratt, Aluísio took him and recorded Baden
Powell swings with Jimmy Pratt. Also in that year, TV
Excelsior promoted the National Festival of Popular Music, in which the
novice Milton Nascimento got the fourth place with "Cidade vazia" (Baden/Lula
Freire), and Baden with Vinícius recorded their
afro-sambas "Canto de Xangô", "Canto de Iemanjá" and "Canto
de Ossanha" for label Forma, along
with "Berimbau" and "Samba da Bênção". He also took
a season with Elis Regina at Rio's nightclub
Zum-Zum. The Lp's O mundo musical de Baden Powell (Barclay/RGE), recorded
in France, Baden Powell ao vivo
no teatro Santa Rosa (Elenco), Tempo feliz (Forma/Philips) where
all recorded in 1966.
In that period he played in the USA with
Stan Getz. In 1967 he recorded
in Paris, France the album O mundo musical no. 2, accompanied by the Paris
Symphonic Orchestra. In that year his O mundo musical de Baden Powell was
awarded with the Golden Record,
in Paris, and he presented himself at the Jazz Festival of Berlin, Germany,
together with the American jazz
guitarists Jim Hall and Barney Kessel. In 1968, a novice Paulo César
Pinheiro (today, a renowned samba
composer) composed with Baden the samba "Lapinha", which was
presented by Elis Regina at the TV Record's First Samba Biennial, winning
the first place.
would compose also, among others, "Cancioneiro", "Samba do perdão",
"Meu réquiem", "É de lei",
"Refém da solidão", "Aviso aos navegantes" and "Carta de
poeta". Also from 1968 is the Lp Baden Powell (Elenco), with the famous
"Manhã de Carnaval" (or "Carnival", by Luís Bonfá
and Antônio Maria, and the show O mundo musical de Baden Powell.
In 1969 he recorded Vinte e sete horas de
estúdio (Elenco). Next year he recorded, in Paris, for Barklay,
the three-album box set Baden Powell
Quartet and the Lp Baden Powell, which brought Pixinguinha's songs.
For Elenco, recorded the Lp
Estudos. In 1972, recorded for Philips the Lp É de lei. Solitude
on guitar was recorded next year in
Germany. In 1974, recorded live in Paris the Lp aden Powell (Barklay/RGE),
and in 1975 recorded the Lp Baden
Powell Trio & Ópera de Frankfurt. He then moved to Baden-Baden
(Germany), staying there for four years.
In 1994, already living in Brazil again, released the record Baden Powell
de Rio à Paris. In that same
year, he performed together with his sons Louis Marcel (violão)
and Phillipe (piano) at the Cecília
Meireles Hall, in Rio, having the concert being recorded and released in
a Cd titled Baden
Powell & Filhos through CID.
In 1995 his concert at the Montreux festival
was recorded in Cd under the title
Baden Powell live in Montreux. Also in that year he was awarded with the
Prêmio Shell, for his complete works.
In 1996 he toured in France with Brazilian accordionist Sivuca and
recorded the Cd Baden Powell live
at the Rio Jazz Club. -- Alvaro