Edu Lobo in the ’70s.

I kind of hate that I’m posting this album by Edu Lobo, “Missa Breve” released in 1973, right now. Its secretly my favorite Brazilian album (and an album I would put in the worldwide top 10 without batting an eye). Its figuratively the Jaguar of albums. So effortlessly refined and aesthetically brilliant that it should never feel out of place in any environment. Its experimental without being inaccessible, and its cultured without being condescending. Its an album born out of failure though.

Missa Breve album cover.

Before Edu released this album, he tried to break the English speaking market by releasing his “Sergio Mendes Presents Edu Lobo” album. This collection of his hits that he rebuilt and sung in English, was an opportunity for this market to experience an authentically new-Brazilian sound that was the equal of anything out there. However, it sank like a stone. In the early age of Prog and classic Cock Rock, his modal pop was too far ahead of its time.

So self assured of his own talent Edu came back to Brazil and concentrated in making an album that would make a statement on the importance of free will. His own terms were his unique Nordeste sound and just mind-boggling great arranging talents that came from Brazil’s folkloric and regional roots. He took what was becoming a generic mainstream jazz-influenced bossa nova sound and went beyond it displaying what he thought the pinnacle of post-bossa nova sound could be. In this album his violao (classical guitar) would be at the forefront. This guitar would be at the center of modal ambient passages that were much more dynamic than before and he himself would play challenging arabesque tempos that would be much more vivid than anything he played before. This is music that at its base is experimental in its arrangements, and chord progressions, but equally emotionally enthralling and digestible.

Missa Breve has the highest of highs for Edu Lobo. The first half of the album presents all his previous music in its newest, most perfect form. This first, more easily digestible half is full of great tracks such as “Vento Bravo” with its cop-beat rhythm, “Viola Fora de Moda” showing who the true Heitor Villa-Lobos heir is with all these manic acoustic guitar passages, or “Zanga, Zangada” which is just almost-flagrant in its undeniable sophistication. Then there is the second half of the album, the one where some of the more challenging tracks reside, but also where tracks like “Gloria” exists. A track like this, which God must have created Edu to make, since no one else can tie together all that unique sound without his voice and talent. Its an album that only gets better as your musical vocabulary develops, and as you age into your taste, in my opinion. This is an album to write tracts about but I’ll spare you that, and just say go and have a listen. Its one of my favorite albums ever (which I’ll gladly defend as belonging alongside Revolver, Who’s Next, Let it Bleed, What’s Goin’ On?, etc.), and it is that sheer type of genius that any music lover regardless of language should hear. You might not get it now, but I guarantee you that when you do…man, will this album strike you like none other…and Edu wasn’t even finished, damn! (I’ll leave that for you to discover yourself with my recommendations below).

Further Listening:
1965: Edu canta Zumbi
1966: Edu & Bethania
1970: Cantiga de longe
1970: Sergio Mendes presents Lobo
1973: Missa Breve
1976: Limite das aguas
1978: Camaleão

World Cup Predictions for the Day:
– Brazil v. Chile: Columbia (Winner)
– Colombia v. Uruguay: Columbia (Winner)!/album/1973+Edu+Lobo/6072580

Just gotta share a set of videos from this era of his, this is effortless sophistication people like Bryan Ferry or David Bowie would dream of having: