Deodato - Night Cruiser/ Happy Hour [Robin Songs/Cherry Red - 2017]Here we have a recent reissue of two early 1980’s album from Deodato (aka Brazilian composer/ arranger Eumir Deodato). And what’s offered up here is a selection of easy-going, memorable & grooving funk-pop, light jazz- funk fusion, and 1980’s disco music. This certainly isn’t for those looking for high-brow & experimental fusion, but if you dig bright, tunefully & good-time funk/pop fare you’ll certainly find this right up your street.
The release comes in the form CD on Robin Songs, which is one of the many sub-labels on the always reliable, quality bound, and mostly reissue based Cherry Red label. The CD comes with a full colour twelve page, and this features a new five page write-up about both featured album by Record Collector/ MOJO writer Charles Waring. You also get reproduction of single labels, and full credits for both albums.
Eumir Deodato stared his career in the early 1960’s releasing albums in his native Brazil like Lounge '64, Inútil Paisage, and Samba Nova Concepcao. These seemingly offered up a blend 1960’s muzak, which mixed together Bossa Nova, Samba, & Latin Jazz flavors. His big break though in the US market & worldwide happened in 1973 with the album Prlude, where his sound turned more towards a big band Latin Jazz sound. The two albums offered up here see him squarely in the pop/funk/disco genre.
First up we have 1980’s Night Cruiser, this offers up six original album tracks, and one bonus track which is a seven inch single edit. The tracks on this album are primarily instrumental, and built around a blend of Keyboards- played by Eumir, and Dave Bravo. Live drums & percussion(handled by Eumir & Jimmy Maelen). Strutting guitar, bouncing & funked bass, a good selection of buoyant & bold horn work, plus the addition of flute & strings on few tracks. All of the six original album tracks are up-beat & grooving-blending together funk, disco & late 70’s/80’s dance bound easy listening flavours. With track runtimes between four & six minutes, the focus here is on memorabitliy and hip shaking groove, and not really on individual performances or solos. Sure all the players here are competent, sleek & polished in their presentation & playing of the tracks, but really they are working as unit to creating buoyant & bobbing lite funk/ pop disco music.
On the latter half of the CD we of course have the second release here, and that comes in the form of 1982’s Happy Hour. This album features seven original tracks, plus a bonus track which is another seven inch single version of a album track. This album really deepens the more pop & commercial side of the project funk/pop/ disco sound, with the addition of both female & male vocals to all of the tracks here. Sonically we have a similar blend of buoyant ‘n’ throbbing synch craft, strutting\ tight guitar work, grooving & funk bass, horns, percussion, with the addition of hand claps. So as one would expect with more vocal song based composition, there is even less focus on the stand alone performances
Of the two albums offered up here I like the most I’d say I'm leaning more towards Happy Hour. Which is surprising really as I’m normally more partial to instrumental funk/ disco, but the vocals here seem to give more focus to the proceedings & the quality of the song writing seems more varied. Though that said Night Cruiser has it’s moments, it just doesn't feel as consistent.
As reissues go this is another nicely presented release from Cherry Red, and if your penchant is for more commercially minded 80’s funk/ disco then I can see this very much appealing- just don’t go in expecting anything deep or detailed. Roger Batty