Release Info: WALTER WANDERLEY - RAIN FOREST (VERVE 1966) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve
Walter Wanderley was a talented and gifted organist with an acute ear for new harmonies. With 46 recorded solo albums in his entire career, both in Brazil and the U.S., he reached number 26 on the Billboard pop charts in September 1966, opening a large pathway of success only menaced by himself and his complex character. Ten years after his death from cancer, with a new fad coming, he was repackaged by the entertainment industry as a mere lounge player, carrying his record sales even further and sending the cost of his out-of-print albums to the stratosphere, but all at the cost of minimizing his significance.
The notes for this LP ask, "What issue is more topical than the Brazilian rain forest? So what reissue would be more topical than Walter Wanderley's Rain Forest?" Politically, this may be true, but musically, this collection is anything but topical. From the first tune -- the monster hit "Summer Samba," the listener is catapulted straight back to the '60s when bossa nova was new in the U.S. and everyone wanted a piece of it. Organist Wanderley made a big splash with this LP, which went platinum in two years -- and it does evoke strong water images, like "poolside" and "ice skating rink." The jazzmen are underutilized, since most of the tracks are less than three minutes long and leave little room to stretch out. One exception is the pretty Ferreira/Marconi ballad "Rain," the only track where Wanderley plays piano rather than organ and which features a fine solo by Urbie Green on trombone. On "Beach Samba," Green gets to noodle a bit, but Bucky Pizarelli is heard stating the melody and nothing else. Despite all the sadness implied in the song titles, this LP has a jaunty feel to it and will be best enjoyed by nostalgic fans of that bygone era.[allmusic]Here