Notes on a Journey gives a very well executed reissue treatment to Brunno's 1992 album '3'.
The A-side of this Brazilian pearl has four electronic-tinged tracks with the use of digital drums and synthesizers, blending pop with samba-reggae at times. Quite catchy and groovy arrangements that have lovely vocals with themed lyrics all over. The B-side leans more towards songs with acoustic instrumentation within the MPB aesthetic. A captivating and diverse album that is very well produced.
Pressed on 180 grams vinyl this album comes with an additional lyric insert. The record is housed in a tip-on sleeve and comes with a printed inner sleeve with background information about each song.
Born into a traditional Bahian family, Bruno Nunes was the son of deputy Paulo Silva Nunes and of Aída Brugni Nunes, landowners in Itabuna and Ilhéus, in the southern part of the state of Bahia.
The accumulation of victories in student festivals were a formative stage for Bruno, necessary steps on the way to achieving the musical authenticity he sought.
In 1979-81 he studied and worked in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, where his contributions on the soccer field were important in popularizing a sport that remains very popular there. During this same period, he wrote songs and worked by himself on the pre-production of his debut album “Amor Natural,” released in 1981 and dedicated to his father. This album featured Argentine saxophonist Hector Costita, a resident of Brazil at the time, as well as the guitar of Mário Campanha, composer of singer Vanusa’s 1973 hit “Manhãs De Setembro.” One night in 1981, musician/producer Geo Benjamin went to Bahia’s Yacht Club for the release party of the “Amor Natural” LP. The presence of some of his friends among the musicians in Bruno’s backing band was what brought him to the event. A short time after Geo’s arrival Bruno rushed in late carrying a copy of the LP under his arm, to perform for members of the region’s high society. Bruno and Geo had both heard of one another, and Geo was at the Yacht Club’s door when Bruno arrived, having a conversation with mutual friends of theirs, and that was when they were introduced. Both uttered the phrase “I’ve heard a lot about you!” simultaneously which broke the ice immediately and caused everybody present to start laughing and kicked off a long friendship and professional partnership between the two of them.
Bruno had already been living in Rio since mid-1982 when he produced and released a 1983 single on the Columbia label featuring the hit “Como Uma Brisa” (arranged by Roupa Nova’s Ricardo Feghali) and a rerecording of “Amor Natural” (arranged by Casa Das Máquinas guitar legend Pisca). Bruno was a constant presence in the Baixo Leblon area which was a popular entertainment-industry hangout in the 70s and 80s and he was a notably popular figure, friendly with everyone from restaurant workers to celebrities.
One day in 1983, while stopping at a red light in his car on Nossa Senhora De Copacabana Avenue, Bruno recognized an old friend from Salvador in the next car: Geo Benjamin. It was a surprise and a sign of things to come. Bruno had been looking for someone to help him get a band together to back him up and was excited by the fact that his song “Como A Brisa” had been included in the soundtrack of “Champagne,” a popular Rede Globo soap opera of that year. Geo, for his part, had come to Rio to shop his new work to record companies and was just about to return home but Bruno persuaded him to stick around. Bruno rented an apartment for the both of them on Copacabana’s Paula Freitas Street. In early 1984 the pair opened the soon-to-be-legendary Help club in Copacabana.
The same year, following Bruno’s signing to the Som Livre label, the pair moved to an apartment owned by Som Livre CEO João Araújo in the posh Alto Leblon area, where they wrote another single, “Era Escorregar Em Mim,” which was produced by Ezequiel Neves and released on Som Livre. They also wrote “Depois Da Praia” which would be held off from release for several years until 1986 when it was released on a single backed with “Pré Pós e São.”
Having a makeshift home studio set up in the Leblon flat allowed Geo to get his ideas down on tape instantly on the spot as well as offering recording and mixing services to artists seeking to record demos. Back in Bahia in 1988, Geo was starting pre-production on his “Rosas E Botões De Rádio” LP. Bruno had also returned to Salvador while Geo traveled to the US to acquire new equipment for his studio. The two then went back to Rio and recorded Bruno’s second album, a ten-track affair, at ex-RCA A&R man Guti Carvalho’s now-shuttered Multi Estúdio. The album was released on Guti’s SBK/ GPA label. Geo stayed in Rio at Guti’s behest and Bruno went back to Salvador to promote his new album. Five highly productive years had passed since that fortuitous encounter at a Rio traffic stop by this point.
Three years later, in 1991, the phone rang at the by-now well-established Geo & Cia: “Hey, Geo! Look, man, I’ve got some new songs here that I want to record, and I heard you’ve got a new label. It could be cool, I don’t want to get involved with a major label or anything, they don’t really get my music, how can we get something together? Maybe a partnership, who knows…” Geo’s reply: “Of course, come on over, buddy! Show me what you’ve got and let’s start recording!” Bruno knew exactly what he wanted to do and was very hands-on throughout the whole process. The sound, the basic arrangements, which instruments went where, all these decisions were made by the two of them. “Ó Paí Ó” Geo Benjamin recalls when Bruno first showed him this song, which he had written in the days before traveling to Rio to begin recording. Bruno grabbed a guitar and demonstrated a song entitled
“Ó Paí Ó”
“Geo Benjamin recalls when Bruno first showed him this song, which he had written in the days before traveling to Rio to begin recording. Bruno grabbed a guitar and demonstrated a song entitled “Ó Paí Ó” in the studio and Geo began laughing uncontrollably. The way Bruno had found to imprint his Bahian essence on the songs he wrote for this album was hilarious and brilliant. Geo and Bruno played all the instruments and created the recording with nobody else present in the studio. They experimented with Yamaha DX-7 sounds, created presets, chose electronic drum sounds on the Emax sampler and created bass lines. Geo used a hi-hat pattern listed from “Fricote,” a 1985 hit by singer Luiz Caldas from the latter’s “Magia” LP. For backing vocals, the two were augmented in the studio by the beautiful Varinia Govea, a Uruguayan singeractress-model living in Brazil.
“Aceite O Dendê”
This song’s title is a pun on “azeite de dendê” (a type of oil that’s a common Bahian cooking ingredient). The song is filled with figures of speech created and inserted within the lyrics to evoke the symbolism and social customs of Bahia, which Geo asserts was intended to give the song a chance to become an anthem of the “nagô” variant of Bahia culture. Bruno was going through a phase of identity reaffirmation and reconnecting with his roots upon his return to his native land. After years of work trying to establish himself as a pop artist in Rio, expressing everyday customs of Bahia through his music brought Bruno a joy that he hoped would
A song within the Bahian samba-reggae aesthetic with lyrics by Bruno, Roger and the late Reinaldo Leitão (who also created the album cover). All the instruments were programmed by Geo Benjamin or played on electronic pads, except for the percussion by Eduardo Lyra (Os Paralamas De Sucesso, Toni Platão).
“Depois Da Praia”
One day in Rio in 1986 Bruno came back from the beach and, finding Geo in the apartment, said “I just wrote some lyrics, let’s write a song!” Geo got the guitar, Bruno began singing and, after a few back-and-forth suggestions regarding chords and melodic structure, “Depois Da Praia” was ready in under 20 minutes. For this updated and different new arrangement, Bruno was determined to only use the bass drum and snare to power the song, omitting the usual hi-hat. The Emax electronic drum sampler was once more used with the shaker setting replacing the hi-hat and congas performed on electronic pads by Geo. Paulo André Mosmann, a Bahian bassist living in Rio, remembers: “Everyone was really vibing during the recording of this song, people dancing and singing, the great atmosphere in the studio was really contagious.”
Absorbed in the art, music and poetry of the great Dorival Caymmi, Bruno went to the studio with the lyrics, melody, arrangement and instrumentation for this song already worked out in his head. The image of the sunset in Itapoã combined with capoeira and a beautiful woman walking in the sand on the beach, was what Bruno sought to establish in the minds of this song’s listeners. This wasn’t all quite clear yet to Geo when he made his first attempt to record the song’s acoustic guitar part. “No, Geo, it’s got to be played just the way I showed you, with the pauses just like that, sounding like a berimbau.” After Geo had completed the basic track and Eduardo Lyra’s berimbau had been added, it was time for Bruno’s vocal. Geo turned off the lights in the studio, only leaving one on Bruno, so that the latter couldn’t see anyone. In an introspective mood and with his eyes closed, Bruno recorded his vocal on “Itapoã” in just one take. The volume variations in his voice when he moves his head back from the mic are audible, but Geo decided against doing any overdubs and to leave it as it is. This only added a genuine authenticity to the overall effect of the song.
This song has lyrics that can be interpreted as a bit of intrinsic self-analysis on Bruno’s part. Despite all the popularity, glamor and magnetism he appeared to exude in the Rio night life and even in Salvador, there was an obstinate feeling of loneliness behind Bruno’s bohemian image. Bruno plays electric guitar on this track, the only one on the album on which he plays an instrument. The other players are Geo on acoustic guitar and Bruno “Batera” Wanderley on bossa-flavored drums.
Bruno had been a Steely Dan fan since 1983 and they heavily influenced the concept and aesthetic of this track. It has more of an “adult” lyric that avoids the obvious and deals with sexual situations in a dreamlike way. For the recording of this track Bruno called on drummer Anderson Guirlinzone (who had recently joined the band Mestiça Trindade) to play a regular drum kit. The track also features Bruno’s old friend Sergio “Guita” Diab on guitar with a chorus effect.
The idea behind this song was to pay homage to his idols and mentors in Brazilian popular music. It was made to order within the MPB tradition with all its associated melodic, rhythmic and harmonic procedures. The lyrics are permeated with metaphors, analogies and similes, such as the puns on the names of Milton Nascimento (“Mil tons”), Djavan (“De avanço”) and Caetano Veloso (“Cae tanto melhor”). The track features Geo on acoustic guitar, the legendary maestro-composer-producer Zé Américo on piano and Banda Eva’s Paulinho Andrade on flute.
Despite the lack of credit on the album sleeve, the song “Spleen” is another product of the fruitful partnership between Bruno and Geo Benjamin who confirms that he is indeed its co-writer, handling the music while Bruno wrote the lyrics. Geo clearly recalls the writing of the song back in 1984 when the pair were living in the old Copacabana apartment, and describes it as a “French candomblé.” Bruno wrote the lyrics on a napkin one night while out carousing at the Pizzeria Guanabara. Arriving back at the flat in high spirits at 6 AM he woke Geo up to show him the lyrics and ask him to write music to them. With a Mediterranean atmosphere, emphasized by Zé Américo’s accordion, the “Baudelairean” reference in the song relates to the irritation, anguish and melancholy of Bruno’s Charles Baudelaire side.
Bruno was an aesthete whose body of work was not limited to his discography. He also left a vast legacy in film and television. He composed the score to Octávio Bezerra’s “Uma Avenida Chamada Brasil” which featured the song “Gang Civil,” another co-write with Geo Benjamin. His compositions and performances are also on the soundtrack to “O Trapalhão Na Arca De Noë” on which he sings “Quem Ouviu Falar Do Lobo Mau.” His song “Pai” is featured in “Plunct Plact Zuuum II.” The Bruno/Geo song “Todo Amor É Bom” is sung by Lilith over the opening credits of the mini-series “Sex Appeal.” Further credits: the documentaries “Halting The Fires” (an award winner in Freiburg, Germany), the BBC’s “The Life Liability” and the opening of SBT-TV’s show “Pesca e Companhia.”
One of Bruno’s proudest creations was Escuna Elétrica (a maritime version of Bahia’s Trios Elétricos), which Bruno brought to the Montreux Jazz Festival in the late 90s. This came about thanks to the legendary Claude Nobs, founder of the festival, who would frequently visit Bruno in Salvador. The 2008 album “Montreux Montreux” was another happy result, on which Bruno had the honor of the participation of Milton Nascimento and the beginning of a friendship and prolific partnership with pianist Delmar Brown (Sting, Jaco Pastorius, Pat Martino).
Late on a Sunday night on August 3rd, 2014, Bruno called his brother Paulo Roberto Nunes complaining of chest pains and he was rushed to the Cardiopulmonary Hospital of Salvador, Bahia but sadly died of a heart attack right in the hospital’s reception area.