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Marcos Valle

Marcos Valle

Marcos Valle was born in Rio de Janeiro on September 14th, 1943. He was raised on a staple diet of classical, Brazilian popular music and North American jazz. Marcos grew up to be one of the most influential musicians (guitar, piano and vocals) of the Bossa Nova period.

He studied classical music and piano for thirteen years; starting when he was just six years old. He straddled North and South America for over twenty years taking part in some of the most important recordings by artists including Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jobim, Sergio Mendes, Leon Ware, Chicago and Airto Moreira. In 1963, at the tender age of twenty, Marcos managed to record over a dozen albums in Brazil debuting with ‘Samba Demais'.

Overnight, Marcos was a success and the Association of Brazilian Critics awarded him the title of Best Newcomer. He was to be showered with a further three awards from them including best album and best single. His biggest success in Brazil was to come with the album ‘Viola Enluarada’ which cemented his position as a major recording artist in Brazil and one of the most important innovators of the Bossa Nova genre.

After touring the States with Sergio Mendes band there was a growing interest in his songs from several American artists. He received many invitations to record in the States and to appear on national television. The boy from Ipanema was suddenly the star of the Andy Williams Show, coast to coast across the States. Probably his biggest triumph was for entering the Guinness Book of Records as the only artist to have a track in the Billboard Top Forty with three different versions of the same song at the same time, including a version by Frank Sinatra. The song, Summer Samba (Samba de Verao), became a bossa nova standard.

Determined to keep in touch with his roots Marcos returned to Brazil in 1968 to work with Milton Nascimento on his own television show which helped to launch Milton’s career. He also continued to record the seminal series of albums on EMI, always adapting his songwriting and production style, which twenty years on were rediscovered on dance floors of Europe.

In the late 70s Marcos continued to work in the US and started long-standing partnerships with Leon Ware and Chicago and performed with major artists like Sarah Vaughan. The partnership with Leon Ware was very profitable and they worked closely together on Leon’s album ‘Rocking You Eternally' and his self titled LP.

In 1981 Marcos returned to Brazil after his third and longest visit to the US. When he returned he found that the Brazilian market had changed and Bossa no longer guaranteed automatic success. He recorded three further albums and after his 1986 album ‘O Tempo da Gente’ he decided to concentrate on writing music for films and television and working as a songwriter for other artists; he then returned to the USA.

In 1995 ‘The Essential Marcos Valle’ was released to stifle the demand created by a whole new generation of fans across Europe and Japan. The success of this release resulted in a second volume of classic tracks. 1995 was rounded off with an excellent set of shows at the Jazz Cafe, London. It became clear to Marcos at this point that there was a new younger market for his work and that bossa nova was coming back in fashion. This was a prospect which really excited him and it became his overwhelming motivation to record a new album.

It was during this visit to the London Jazz Cafe that Marcos finally had an opportunity to meet up with Joe Davis to discuss a new project. Marcos remembers, 'Before recording with Joe and Far Out Recordings I had received many invitations in Brazil, different projects, different ideas, but I wasn't very stimulated. I didn't think it was the right time, I didn't find a good rhythm, but when I met Joe I had a talk with him and I liked him very much. I believed in what he was doing. Joe knows my music very well, he knows everything I have done, even things that I don't remember. He was able to pick up on so much.' That belief was strong enough to tempt Marcos back into recording a new album and together they started to sift their way through the various demos that Marcos had meticulously compiled over the previous three years.

As the word filtered back to Brazil about his success in Europe and Japan people started to pay attention. 'Suddenly everybody started to talk about me - they wanted to listen to my music again. I did a lot of shows; suddenly I had a song recorded by the Paralamas de Sucesso, a rock group; one thing led to another. When young people started to see new artists from today singing bossa nova they started to think hey this is cool, this is for today. And when they saw groups from outside Brazil playing bossa nova, groups from the States, from England, rock groups, funk groups they thought bossa nova is in again.'

The next thing he knew record companies were contacting him hoping to get a slice of the action, journalists were running stories on the return of a legend and even Jorge Ben telephoned wanting to record a track he had heard Marcos play on the television. He’s probably still waiting; Marcos is not a man to be rushed. On 'Nova Bossa Nova', his first album on Far Out Recordings, integration and progression were the key words. Much of the nervous energy of earlier recordings had been replaced by a reassured elegance. This translated into a series of tight musical workouts moving seamlessly between funk, samba, soul, jazz and rock.

Marcos talks about his album ‘Contrasts’ released with Far Out Recordings in 2003. 'Working with Far Out,' says Marcos, 'makes me feel young again. Roc Hunter (producer) and I worked hard to combine classic Brazilian harmonies and rhythms with cutting edge production. We took the initial live recordings then Roc worked hard on elements such as the horns and strings giving the album a very full sound.” With it’s uplifting horns, irresistible beats, warm guitars and Marcos’ sensual voice ‘Contrasts’ is as Brazilian as a stroll down Copacabana.

His 4th for Far Out Recordings, was the long awaited ‘Estática’ released in September 2010. It has been described as Marcos Valle’s ‘finest work since he hooked up with Far Out Recordings over 15 years ago, essential summer listening’ - Echoes Magazine.

That was until he released 'Sempre' in June 2019, almost a decade on from Estatica, Sempre updates Marcos Valle’s seminal boogie-era sound, spanning ecstatic disco, cosmic samba, and late-night jazz-funk, drawing obvious comparisons to some of Valle’s late-seventies and early-eighties output. “Guaranteed summer floor-fillers” - MOJO