I first glimpsed Bola Sete through the refracting lens of another artist's eyes, heart and fingers: John Fahey, who issued Ocean in 1975 on Takoma Records and has absorbed aspects of the late guitarist's lyrical style and evocative compositions into his own work.
This splendid double CD reissues that long-lost LP, along with eight more tracks from the same recording session. Sete (his stage name is Portuguese for "seven ball") was born Djalma de Andrade in Rio de Janeiro in 1923, moved to the U.S. in 1959 and worked his way up from gigs in hotel bands to playing with jazzmen Dizzy Gillespie and Vince Guaraldi.
In the 1970s he began performing solo guitar concerts in California folk clubs, which is where Fahey first encountered him. I can hear what Fahey loved about Sete's work: He effortlessly blended bossa nova, samba, classical and folk sources into a thrilling torrent of unabashedly gorgeous music that could conjure both paradisiacal bliss and bleak loneliness without shortchanging either.
This is music that stands outside of genre and style and casts an imposing shadow over the work of other greats.
Following notes are by Anne Sete:
This is a 2-CD set. Bola Sete was born "Djalma de Andrade" on July 16, 1923, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was born into a musical family, and began playing the ukelele when he was 3. His Uncle George would take him to Carnival where Uncle George and several others in the family would play on street corners to earn money. Bola would dance and play his ukelele. Bola continue to develop his guitar skills, and after high school went on to study music in both Sao Paulo and at the Rio Conservatory of Music. He performed for several radio stations.
Ultimately he formed his own band and played throughout South America and Europe (mostly in hotels and resorts). In 1959 he was brought to the United States by the Sheraton Hotel chain. He played throughout the USA at the Sheraton Hotels. In 1966 he played for 2 years with pianist Vince Guaraldi. In 1967 he formed his own trio. He began playing solo in 1971. He was a great yogi. He was an extraordinarily gifted guitarist. Historically he was a musician who bridged the music from the "old" style of jazz in clubs to the "new age" music.Please visit www.bolasete.com