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Live At Grace Cathedral by Bola Sete

Brazilian-born guitarist Bola Sete’s widow, Anne Sete, is taking steps to ensure that his memory remains alive and that his recordings remain available for another generation of listeners. An inspiration for numerous guitarists, like Carlos Santana, who shower on him the highest possible praise comparing him to incomparable musicians like Charlie Parker or Art Tatum Sete impressed with his cultural authenticity and technical skill Dizzy Gillespie, Lalo Schifrin and Vince Guaraldi, with whom he later recorded for two years. Even though Bola Sete (literally translated as "Seven Ball" and born Djalma de Andrade) left behind a sufficient recorded legacy on several labels, the power of his performances risked passing into oblivion as successive guitarists forged their own identity. But Anne Sete will have none of that.

She started her own label, Samba Moon Records, solely to release the guitarist’s music, even though he passed in 1987. And now, for the first time, Mrs. Sete is making available the first recording from the Bola Sete Music Archives. The CD she chose is a live recording before an appreciative audience at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, where he settled in 1963, after employment with Sheraton Hotels created an opportunity there. It turns out that all but one of the songs from Live At Grace Cathedral have been recorded before on Ocean Memories, but a comparison of the approaches from both recordings affords the opportunity to appreciate Sete’s versatility and ability to craft a song from different perspectives, depending on the audience.

As part of Sete’s program for the live audience in 1976, he chose from some of his own original compositions like "Carnival Nights" (the one previously unrecorded song) and "Flamenco Nights," which features Sete’s ability to a merge Spanish and Brazilian references into a single tune on the nylon-string guitar, his use of the thumb and percussive style appropriate for their changing dynamics. In addition, he includes in his repertoire some of the music of Baden Powell, one of Sete’s original inspirations. Its title seemingly anachronistic now, Powell’s "O Astronauto" lightens the concert with its flow and melodic strength. In contrast, Powell’s "Jongada" consists of several movements, at first with agitated excitement before calming into a softer, more meditative section. Sete includes an interpretation of the traditional Brazilian folk song, "Vira Mundo Penba," which sounds hauntingly familiar to American audiences, although it’s one of those songs that one can’t put a name to.

As the recordings of other influential artists are released some, like Thelonious Monk’s, for the first time through the dedicated efforts of T.S. Monk fortunately Bola Sete’s are among them. Now that three of his albums are available, Anne Sete plans to release yet another CD, Windspell imminently.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bola Sete
  • CD Title: Live At Grace Cathedral
  • Genre: Brazilian Jazz / Brazilian Pop Jazz
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Samba Moon Records
  • Tracks: Jongo, Gaucho/Meu Ogum, Carnival Nights, Flamenco Fantasy, Ocean Waves (O Mar), Jongada, O Astronauto, Vira Mundo Penba, Guitar Lamento, Tio George
  • Musicians: Bola Sete (guitar)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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