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Roberto Baden Powell de Aquino
Baden Powell
September 26, 2000
Age 63 
Pneumonia 
 
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OBITUARY 
 
     Pioneer of Bossa Nova dies
 
               Composer and musician Baden Powell, a pioneer of Bossa Nova who was more popular abroad 
               than at home, died today of pneumonia and multiple organ failure, his publicist said. He was 63. 

               Powell was hospitalised Aug. 22 at Sorocaba Clinic in Rio de Janeiro, publicist Alexandre Raine 
               said. His kidneys began to fail and he developed a general infection, relying on a respirator to 
               breathe. 

               Powell is regarded as a key figure in the history of Bossa Nova, Brazil's jazzy samba music that 
               gained worldwide popularity in the 1960s. 

               As a child, Powell moved with his family from the rural interior to Rio, where his music teacher 
               introduced him to the legendary musician and composer Pixinguinha. He later worked with other 
               top names in Brazilian music, including Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. 

               With his trademark turtleneck and acoustic guitar, Powell attracted a great following in Europe and 
               lived for years in Germany. In Brazil, Bossa Nova's popularity soon waned and Baden Powell 
               remained little known. 

               "That shows how subjugated we are to American music," said popular singer Leila Pinheiro, who 
               often performs Powell's works. 

               "Baden Powell was a genius of the guitar and Brazilian music ... he symbolised an era." 

               Baden Powell is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and two sons. 

               Funeral arrangements were not released.-AP 
  

    
   
                    Legendary Brazilian Guitarist Baden Powell Dies In Rio De Janeiro 

                     It has been said that bossa nova, the Brazilian jazz-tinged genre that 
                     sparked a musical revolution in the late-1950s, had it all: a great poet 
                     (Vinicius de Moraes), a terrific composer (Antonio Carlos Jobim), a 
                     wonderful voice (Joao Gilberto), and an extraordinary guitarist (Baden 
                     Powell). Of all four, Powell made a small but profound impact. He died 
                     Tuesday (Sept. 26) in Río de Janeiro, Brazil, at the age of 63.  

                     According to his publicist and long-time friend, Alexandre 
                     Raine, the cause was pneumonia and multiple organ failures. 
                     "Baden was not feeling well for some time now," he said. "He 
                     died in peace. We'll all miss him very much."  

                     Along with De Moraes, who wrote the lyrics for such classics 
                     as "Samba da Benção", "Canto de Ossanha", "O Astronauta" 
                     and "Berimbau," Powell blended jazz improvisations, classical 
                     harmonies, and African rhythms to create what is now 
                     considered a musical school within the MPB (Brazilian Popular 
                     Music). They called it Afrosamba, and it turned the 
                     traditional samba on its head.  

                     "For Baden it was not important to have a clean sound; he 
                     wanted to reproduce the beauty of African percussion," says 
                     Tom Gomes, publisher and editor of Successo, a sort of 
                     Brazilian Billboard.  

                     Born Roberto Baden-Powell de Aquino in the town of 
                     Varre-e-Sai, Brazil, on Aug. 6, 1937, he was named after 
                     Robert Steven Smyth Baden-Powell, the 19th-century British 
                     founder of the Boy Scouts. His family moved to Rio when 
                     Baden was four months old and the boy grew up listening to 
                     all kinds of music: from frevo, to samba, to modinhas, to 
                     fado, of course, classical music.  

                     Powell showed a rare talent for the guitar, teaching himself 
                     some basic chords and a couple of songs. However, his 
                     father enrolled him in private classes, and by the time he 
                     was a teenager Baden was playing the guitar on national 
                     radio programs and in small clubs around Rio.  

                     He started to compose in the mid-1950s, influence by jazz 
                     and choro (a Brazilian jazz form). He once said that "jazz 
                     showed me the possibilities of improvisation and the 
                     techniques to play with passion."  

                     "He would get together at Vinicius' apartment and would 
                     drink whiskey all night long," says Roberto Menescal, a 
                     Brazilian guitarist and producer based in Los Angeles. "In the 
                     morning, they would have like seven or ten songs."  

                     However, for all his great music and performances in Brazil, 
                     Powell was better known in Europe. In 1966, his "Samba da 
                     Benção" became a successful hit off the soundtrack Un 
                     Homme et Une Femme, by French director Claude Lelouch.  

                     In the 1999 biography O Violão Vadio de Baden Powell (The 
                     Sweet Guitar of Baden Powell), he's quoted as saying: "I 
                     didn't keep track of my recordings because I was having so 
                     much fun playing the music. Who has time to count albums?" 

                     Powell is survived by two sons, Philippe and Louis-Marcel 
                     Baden-Powell de Aquino, both now living in Rio de Janeiro.  

                                                          -- Eliseo Cardona

 
NY TIMES
             Baden Powell, Guitarist Who Pioneered Bossa Nova, Dies at 63
              By SIMON ROMERO 

              Roberto Baden Powell de Aquino, the musician whose blend of African, 
              jazz and classical influences gained him renown as one of Brazil's  
              greatest guitarists, died yesterday in Rio de Janeiro. He was 63. 

              The cause was pneumonia and multiple organ failure, said Alexandre 
              Raine, his publicist. Known professionally simply as Baden Powell, Mr. 
              Powell had been hospitalized for the last month at the Clínica Sorocaba in 
              Rio de Janeiro. 

              Named after Robert Steven Smyth Baden-Powell, the 19th-century British 
              founder of the Boy Scouts, Mr. Powell was born on Aug. 6, 1937, in 
              Varre-e-Sai, a small town in the interior of the state of Rio de Janeiro. 

              His grandfather, the abolitionist Vicente Thomas de Aquino, formed an 
              orchestra of black slave musicians before Brazil's abolition of slavery in 
              1888, and his father, Lilo de Aquino, supplemented his modest income as a 
              shoemaker by playing the tuba and the violin at local dances. 

              When Mr. Powell was a small boy his family moved to Rio, then Brazil's 
              capital, where his father enrolled him in private classes with Jaime 
              Florence, a guitar professor who introduced him to the work of Spanish 
              masters like Francisco Tárrega and Andres Segovia.  

              Mr. Powell proved to be a prodigious student, and by the time he was a 
              teenager, he was playing the guitar on national radio programs and at 
              dances and parties in the lower-middle-class suburbs of Rio. He went on to 
              play at at the Bar Plaza in the late 1950's in Copacabana, where he was 
              noticed by the composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. 

              Through Jobim, Mr. Powell met the composer Marcus Vinícius de Melo 
              Moraes and soon became immersed in bossa nova, the stylistic reworking 
              of traditional Brazilian samba rhythms in the late 1950's and early 60's. In 
              perhaps the most fruitful part of his career, Mr. Powell collaborated with 
              Moraes on nearly 50 songs in the 1960's, like "Berimbau," released in 1967. 

              In "Berimbau," for which Mr. Powell composed the music and Moraes the 
              lyrics, the sound of the musical bow used in the ritual of capoeira, the 
              martial art brought to Brazil by slaves from what is now Angola, is subtly 
              recreated on the guitar.  

              "Baden Powell is to the guitar what João Gilberto is to style and Tom 
              Jobim is to composition," said Charles Perrone, a professor of Brazilian 
              culture at the University of Florida.  

              Shy and wiry, Mr. Powell went to live abroad in the late 1960's along with 
              many other prominent Brazilian musicians after a military coup toppled the 
              civilian government in 1964. He established himself in Paris, where he 
              worked with musicians like Thelonious Monk and Stan Getz, who helped 
              introduce him to audiences in the United States. 

              Mr. Powell moved to the German city of Baden-Baden in 1983, which he 
              used as a base for playing at jazz clubs and festivals in Europe, Japan and 
              the United States, according to Mr. Powell's biographer, the French writer 
              Dominique Dreyfus. 

              Even though Mr. Powell's recognition grew while he lived in Europe, his 
              heavy drinking sometimes complicated his personal life and threatened his 
              financial security. "What messed him up were his personal life and a friend 
              named Johnnie Walker," Ruy Castro, a Brazilian writer, said in reference 
              to Mr. Powell's longtime fondness for whiskey. 

              Still, Mr. Powell saved enough money to return to Brazil in 1988. In Rio de 
              Janeiro he began to play at clubs again. By then, however, he was perhaps 
              better known abroad than in Brazil, where popular music had undergone 
              enormous innovation because of musicians like Caetano Veloso and 
              Gilberto Gil.  

              "Although his career spanned continents and decades, in the popular 
              imagination Baden Powell belongs to that very special time for Brazilian 
              music in the 1960's, when things were still somewhat innocent," said 
              Christopher Dunn, a professor of Brazilian literary and cultural studies at 
              Tulane University. 

              In 1997 Mr. Powell became an evangelical Christian in a religious 
              conversion that led him to tone down his public performances of Afro- 
              sambas like "Samba da Benção," the song he composed that became well 
              known in the 1966 film "A Man and a Woman," by the French director 
              Claude Lelouch. He also became more reflective about Brazil.  

              "I get sad because our country has such beautiful places but it's all falling 
              down," Mr. Powell wrote in a Brazilian newspaper earlier this year. "We 
              must, I think, give greater importance to our natural wonders." 

              Mr. Powell is survived by two sons, Philippe and Louis-Marcel Baden 
              Powell de Aquino, both of Rio de Janeiro.

 
       
 

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BIOGRAPHY
 
 
All-Music Guide
 
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 singers. 
  
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.  
  
Taking  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. 
  
The duo  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 Neder

 
 
  
 
 

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