Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Aldemir Martins, a Cool Brazilian Cat

When I was casting about (on my Mac) for an image to use to anchor this blog I came across an illustration I'm particularly fond of, by Aldemir Martins (see the black and white cat underneath this blog's title.). The late great Aldemir painted and drew (and sculpted) many cats, as well as other animals, with a particular kind of cartoon economy and vividness. Cats are of course, a standard issue piece of jazz iconography, so it's ironic that in choosing this particular illustration, and accounting for it, I need to broaden my discussion beyond jazz. Because I first encountered Aldemir's work as I began to explore Brazilian music, the boundaries of which overlap with jazz in many beautiful ways. For example, the work of sax man J.T. Meirelles (does anyone out there actually know what the J.T. stands for? If so, please share). Incidentally, most of my knowledge of Brazilian jazz and other music comes as a result of browsing and buying from the mighty Dusty Groove, my favourite record shop in the world. It's located in Chicago, and one day, after years of shopping there, I hope to actually visit the place. Ah, the wonders of the internet. Back to Aldemir Martins. He comes into the equation because he is Brazillian and did a splendid illustration for an LP cover which I discovered in my exploration of this new world of music. Batucada, incidentally, is a sub genre of samba involving the heavy use of drums. The word itself refers to a battery of percussion. But the main thing is, what a big fat cat!

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