Baden Powell de Aquino (6 August 1937 – 26 September 2000) usually known simply as Baden Powell, was one of the most prominent and celebrated Brazilian guitarists and guitar composers of his time. He combined classical techniques with popular harmony and swing. He performed in many styles, including bossa nova, samba, Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz and música popular brasileira. He performed on stage during most of his lifetime.
Baden Powell also composed many fine pieces for guitar, such as 'Abração em Madrid', 'Braziliense', 'Canto de Ossanha', 'Casa Velha', 'Consolação', 'Horizon', 'Imagem', 'Lotus', 'Samba', 'Samba Triste', 'Simplesmente', 'Tristeza e solidão', and 'Xangô'.
Baden Powell de Aquino was born in Varre-Sai in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His father, a scouting enthusiast, named him after Robert Baden-Powell. When he was three months old, his family relocated to the Rio suburb of São Cristóvão. His house was a stop for popular musicians during his formative years. He started guitar lessons with Jayme Florence, a famous choro guitarist in the 1940s. He soon proved a young virtuoso, having won many talent competitions before he was a teenager. At age fifteen, he was playing professionally, accompanying singers and bands in various styles. He was fascinated by swing and jazz, but his main influences were in the Brazilian guitar canon.
In 1955, Powell played with the Steve Bernard Orquestra at the Boite Plaza, a nightclub within the Plaza Hotel in Rio, where his skill got the attention of the jazz trio playing across the lobby at the Plaza Bar. When Ed Lincoln needed to form a new trio, he asked Powell to join on guitar to become the Hotel Plaza Trio. Powell brought in Luiz Marinho on bass and a fourth member of the 'trio': Claudette Soares on vocals. Powell, Lincoln, and their young musician friends took part in after-hours jam sessions, gaining notice in the growing Brazilian jazz scene.
Powell achieved wider fame in 1959 by convincing Billy Blanco, an established singer and songwriter, to put lyrics to one of Baden's compositions. The result was called 'Samba Triste' and quickly became very successful. It has been covered by many artists, including Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd in their seminal LP Jazz Samba.
In 1962, Powell met the poet-diplomat Vinicius de Moraes and began a collaboration that yielded classics of 1960s Brazilian music. Although bossa nova was the prevailing sound at the time, Baden and Vinicius wanted to combine samba with Afro-Brazilian forms such as candomblé, umbanda, and capoeira. In 1966 they released Os Afro-Sambas de Baden e Vinicius.
Powell studied advanced harmony with Moacir Santos and released recordings on the Brazilian labels Elenco Records and Forma, as well as in the French label Barclay and the German label MPS/Saba (notably, his 1966 Tristeza on Guitar). He was the house guitarist for Elenco, and of the singer Elis Regina's TV show O Fino da Bossa.
In 1968, Powell joined with poet Paulo César Pinheiro and produced another series of Afro-Brazilian-inspired music, released in 1970 as Os Cantores da Lapinha.
Powell visited and toured Europe frequently in the 1960s, relocating permanently to France in 1968. In the 1970s, he released recordings with labels in Europe and Brazil. He had health problems and spent the 1980s in semi-retirement in France and Germany. In the 1990s he and his family moved back to Brazil, where he continued to record and perform. Public recognition of his work came around that time in Brazil. By the end of the 1990s he converted to the Evangelical faith, to which he credits overcoming his long addictions to alcohol and tobacco. He fell terminally ill in 2000 and died of pneumonia triggered by diabetes on 26 September 2000, in Rio de Janeiro.
He is the father of pianist Philippe Baden Powell de Aquino and guitarist Louis Marcel Powell de Aquino. (Hide extended text) ... (Read all)
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