Friday, June 22, 2012

Deodato--Also Sprach Zarathustra (1973)

     From the advent of the modern pop/rock era (about 1955), there are songs which made the charts that have been influenced by music from other countries. The American public seems to have a fascination with what is now known by the generic phrase, "world music", but not too much of it at a time, and almost always mixed in with a more Anglo sensibility. Paul Simon's, "Graceland" is probably one of the best examples of this in album form.
     We find much more of a tolerance for the music of the world in jazz. One of the purveyors of this blend of ethnic music (in this case from Brazil)  and jazz is Eumir Deodato. He was born in Brazil and taught himself the accordion and then the piano. By the age of 17 he was a pianist and arranger in the Bossa Nova scene in Rio. Like many musicians in that country who chafed at the rule of dictatorship in the country moved to New York City.
     He signed with the small CTI label and reworked "Also Sprach Zarathustra" in a funky bossa nova style which was included on his debut album, "Prelude" in 1972. Many of you know this song as the major musical theme in the movie, "2001: A Space Odyssey". Those with a classical background would of course recognize it as a tone poem written by Richard Strauss in 1896.
     It reached #2 on the charts in the early spring of 1973 and put Deodato on the map as a writer/producer/arranger.  He had three other songs reach the top 100 that decade, but none with the success of his debut, although he has arranged and produced hundreds of albums for artists all over the musical spectrum.


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