Brazil in the 60s/70s was, among other things, fertile ground for amazing music. Ana Mazzotti began playing accordion at age 5, before moving to keys and forming a Beatles cover band while still in school. A move from Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul to the more populated São Paulo found her introduced to Rio de Janeiro’s Azymuth, the fusion/funk band that would play a key role in her music. By 1974, Azymuth keyboardist José Roberto Bertrami was already something of a session wizard, having played with luminaries such as Tim Maia and Marcos Valle. When Mazzotti recorded this, her first album, Bertrami and the Azymuth crew were her backing band.
Ninguém Vai Me Segurar translates to “Nobody will hold me”, which is probably a statement of loneliness but which I prefer to liken to Rick Ross’s refusal to be stopped. Mazzotti’s confident vocals and great songs are only the first layer of the music. Bertrami’s contributions are massive: these synths are FUNKY. “Roda Mundo” features some synth-spazzing that rivals Chick Corea and “Eu Sou Mais Eu” has a particularly funky bounce to it.
I think I discovered this record via “Feel Like Makin’ Love”, a cover of the Roberta Flack song (written by Eugene McDaniels) that served as the title track to the first AOTY I ever posted on this blog. Mazzotti’s version is sampled on Isaiah Rashad’s “Cilvia Demo”, and matches the mellow of Flack’s take. We get a sort of Syreeta vibe on “Acalanto” with its sleepy Sunday atmosphere and Stevie-like synths.
Ana Mazzotti followed Ninguém with a self-titled album in 1977, but unfortunately neither were very commercially successful. Little is known (at least to me) about her last 10-or-so years, and she passed away from cancer early in 1988. Thanks to a 2019 reissue on Far Out Recordings, more is known about Ninguém and it is easy to find and stream, which is fantastic as this album is an absolute delight.
Listen to Ninguém Vai Me Segurar here.