Nico Gomez: Aquarela + Samba De Uma Nota So
From Bossa Nova (Omega, 197?)

This was the very last LP I picked up at the Groove Merchant before blowing out of town. I think it’s safe to say that the store has the best Brazilian collections on the West Coast and even though I’m still a babe in the woods about the various genres coming out of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, I certainly got exposed to more good Brazilian there than I would have under other circumstances.

What’s interesting about Nico Gomez is that despite having put out any number of very collectible Latin and Brazilian albums, he wasn’t actually from South America. Born in Amsterdam, Gomez had his mark in Belgium where he lead a series of different bands (and recorded under his own name). His best known outfit were the Chakachas who scored a cult hit in the ’70s with “Jungle Fever” (on Polydor no less) but he also headed up the El Chicles. There are few Belgium composers from that era with a more consistent track record for straight up funky and Latin-flavored tracks.

Bossa Nova contains one of his biggest hits in the genre: “Aquarela,” a slick, mid-tempo dance track. It’s ended up on a bunch of cheap Gomez compilations from the era and it’s hear to hear why with its samba rhythms and those distinctive vocals. Personally though, I kind of prefer Gomez’ take on “One Note Samba (Samba De Uma Nota So)”: it’s such a wonderfully chill song, especially with the interplay between the vibes and piano. Definitely some Sunday afternoon music.