Quinteto Radamés

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The Quinteto Radamés brought together the exceptional talents of five virtuosi and were a vanguard experience in terms of popular music. The result was a splendid contribution to the choro genre, which…
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The Quinteto Radamés brought together the exceptional talents of five virtuosi and were a vanguard experience in terms of popular music. The result was a splendid contribution to the choro genre, which profited from Radamés Gnattali's daring and innovative arrangements to old, respectable classics by Anacleto de Medeiros, Ernesto Nazareth, and Pixinguinha. Modern harmony and flexibility of form and instrumentation individualized the quintet's sound in Brazilian music history. Recording intensely for Continental during the '40s, Radamés Gnattali by and by formed his own quintet with great stars with whom he established great communication. His oldest association was with drummer Luciano Perrone, who worked with the maestro since 1928. Perrone was instrumental in the shaping of Gnattali's orchestrations, suggesting that he distribute the rhythm between all of the orchestra, instead of focusing only on the drums and percussionists. Violonista (acoustic guitar player) and cavaquinho player Zé Menezes was another of these old collaborators, working with Gnattali since the late '40s and during the '50s. He also played the electric guitar, banjo, and other instruments. The pressure to include the accordion, fashionable since the '50s, hit a wall in the maestro's sophistication. Gnattali didn't believe that an accordionist who could meet the challenge of playing with such high-level musicians existed -- until he heard Chiquinho do Acordeon. Chiquinho, a splendid improviser, subtle and sophisticated harmonizer, and skilled reader, was added to Gnattali's group in 1954. The last to join was bassist Pedro Vidal Ramos. An orchestra musician, Vidal started recording with Gnattali in the '70s, replaced by Zeca Assumpção in 1985.

In the mid-'60s, the Quinteto Radamés, with the special addition of Gnattali's sister, Aída Gnattali, a concerto pianist, toured Europe, playing in Oxford, England; Sorbonne, France; Coimbra, Portugal; Rome, Italy; and Frankfurt, Germany. On that excursion, the III Caravana Oficial da Música Brasileira, the quintet also recorded shows for the English BBC and Italian RAI. The harmonica virtuoso Edu da Gaita was also featured in those performances, and his flawless interpretation of Paganini's "Moto Perpetuo" excited the Europeans and yielded recordings with Odeon. But most of the quintet's work is registered on several albums, as accompanists of the great stars of Brazilian popular music. Their last performances were in late 1985. Commemorating Gnattali's 80 years of age, the quintet, with Rafael Rabello, performed in Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasília, DF, and São Paulo, SP.