Radio Jazzinho

The story of Stevie Wonder, Bob Margouleff, Malcolm Cecil and Tonto

By | Non classifié(e), Radio Jazzinho | 16 Comments

Think carefully ! I bet that most of the Stevie Wonder’s songs you prefer are almost all from these four albums:

    • Music of My Mind (1972)
    • Talking Book (1972)
    • Innervisions (1973)
    • Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974)

Well, Songs in the Key of Life is not bad either (understatement).

There might be a reason for this. Alongside Stevie, they were co produced and recorded by two virtually unknown British guys. Bob Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil, using their amazing Tonto synthesiser, the Colossus of electronic music, worked night and day, four years in a row, to craft the idiosyncratic sound of Stevie Wonder, earning him four Grammies. When I say night and day, I mean literally anytime of the day as Stevie, living on multiple time zones, and being blind lives in own time zone. I bet you never heard their names, but the three of them went on to recording 240 songs together, most of them never released. Think of those gritty and funky synths, Stevie’s trademark really, this is Tonto, the mother of all synthesizers. So big, it can…. it must be played by two or three people at simultaneously. Think of the bridge of Star Trek’s Enterprise.

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History was not very kind with Bob and Cecil as they were seldom, or more exactly almost never credited properly for their ground breaking work. But, better late than never, now you know.

Malcom Cecil playing Tonto synthesizer with Bob Margouleff for Stevie Wonder

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What's it all about, Alfie- Cilla Black and Burt Bacharach

Cilla Black and Burt Bacharach Recording Alfie at Abbey Road Studio

By | Non classifié(e), Radio Jazzinho | 3 Comments

What’s it’s all about, Alfie.

Alfie is an excellent film from 1966 starring Michael Caine as a super cool cockney womanizer. Burt Bacharach insisted on writing and recording the theme song. He chose Cilla Black to sing it and organised a mammoth session at legendary Abbey Road studio in West London. He used the largest room to pack an entire philharmonic as well as backing vocalists and a full rhythm section with drum kit, bass, percussion etc… the works !

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It took 32 takes to complete the song. Legend goes that it is Sir George Martin, who was behind the desk engineering the session, who decided that enough was enough and sent everybody home. The track was used to promote the film on radio as well as in the final tittle sequence. In the US the song was entirely rerecorded with Cher, but was not part of the film and was a minor hit. Since then the track was covered hundreds of times. My preferred cover being by Eivets Rednow, whose version I’ll feature soon.

Michael Caine in Alfie - Soundtrack by Burt Bacharach sung by Cilla Black - Recording session.

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The Cat Jimmy Smith Portuguese Soul Jazzinho's Radio Guida de Palma Veludo

Jimmy Smith – Portuguese Soul – 1st Movement

By | Non classifié(e), Radio Jazzinho | 4 Comments

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Portuguese Soul

Smith influenced a constellation of jazz organists, of the likes of Jimmy McGriff, Brother Jack McDuff, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Joey DeFrancesco and Larry Goldings as well as rock keyboardists like Jon Lord, Brian Auger and Keith Writer. More recently, Smith influenced bands like the Beastie Boys sampled the bassline from “Root Down (and Get It)” from Root Down—and saluted Smith within the lyrics—for their own hit “Root Down. Medeski, Martin & Wood and the Hayden-Eckert Ensemble also were strongly influenced by “The Cat”. Often referred to as the father of Acid Jazz, Smith lived to see that movement return to revive Smith’s organ style.


This track, recorded in NY follows Jimmy’s concerts in Estoril, at one of the very first Jazz Festivals in Portugal. Thad Jones directs the orchestra’s stellar line up in his idiosyncratic style.

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