Song No. 31 — Mas Que Nada | Jorge Ben (1963)

Zé Maria — Tudo Azul

Mas Que Nada was introduced in 1963 by Jorge Duílio Ben Zabella Lima de Menezes aka Jorge Ben, meanwhile known as Jorge Ben Jor, with two different recordings on two albums and two singles on two different labels.

In early 1963, while performing at the nightclub Bottle’s with the renowned Os Copa 5 featuring João Theodoro Meirelles on tenor sax, Pedro Paulo on trumpet, Toninho on piano, Manuel Gusmão on bass and Dom Um Romão on drums , organist Zé Maria introduced two songs by the still unknown Jorge Ben: Mas Que Nada and Por Causa de Você, Menina. Both songs were introduced on record with Jorge Ben as vocalist on Zé Maria’s album Tudo Azul – Bossa Nova e Balanço, however, issued on Continental only in September 1963 after the songs became famous.

After that recording session, Continental re-recorded both songs for Jorge Ben’s debut single, again accompanied by Os Copa 5 but with different arrangements. This  single was issued about May or June with Por Causa de Você, Menina as A-side and Mas Que Nada as B-side.

While radio stations immediately got enthusiastic about Mas Que Nada, Jorge Ben switched labels to Philips who released the very same recordings in July 1963 on single as well but in reverse order. The same month, Tamba Trio were the first to pick up Mas Que Nada on their album Avanço, the first of about at least 150 cover versions to come. In the weeks and months following, the song became by far the biggest hit of the year and was, of course, also included on Jorge Ben’s debut album Samba Esquema Novo, which was released in late September 1963. On single, Mas Que Nada was followed by Chove Chuva which became a smash as well, ranking at number five of the year-end charts.

Zé Maria — Tudo Azul (reissue a)    Zé Maria — Tudo Azul (reissue b)

Albertinho Fortuna — Prelúdio (a)    Albertinho Fortuna — Prelúdio (b)
Tudo Azul – Bossa Nova e Balanço was reissued in 1969 by Disco Lar as  Tudo Azul (LPDS – 32.008) featuring the reworked cover photograph from Albertinho Fortuna’s album Prelúdio (Continental PPL 12.073) from 1963.

Internationally, Mas Que Nada has arguably become one of, if not the, the most covered songs from Brazil, probably best known in the version Sérgio Mendes recorded in 1966 which became the first song performed in Portuguese to enter the US Billboard charts, even though mispelled Mais Que Nada. The song was instantly picked up by numerous and very different musicians: jazzmen such as Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson and Odell Brown as well as band leaders from the world of easy listening, supper club music and even space age pop like Warren Kime, Ronnie Aldrich and Edmundo Ros, whose recordings of Mas Que Nada sometimes tried to push the limits of the song with their big and sleek orchestral settings and choirs, though often very entertaining.

Selected recordings of Mas Que Nada:

1. Zé Maria featuring Jorge Ben from the album Tudo Azul – Bossa Nova e Balanço (1963, Continental PPL 12079)

Zé Maria — Tudo Azul    Zé Maria — Tudo Azul (b)

2. Jorge Ben & Os Copa 5 from the album Samba Esquema Novo (1963, Philips P 632.161 L)

Capa    Contra-Capa
Art work for Samba Esquema Novo by Paulo Brèves with photgraph by Mafra

3. Tamba Trio from the album Avanço (1963, Philips P 632.154 L)

Tamba Trio — Avanço (a)    Tamba Trio — Avanço (b)
Art work for Avanço by Paulo Brèves with photograph by Francisco Perreira

4. Walter Gonçalves aka Waltinho from the album Magi Ritmo (1963, Magisom GMLP 1010)

Walter Gonçalves aka Waltinho - Magi Ritmo (1963) a    Walter Gonçalves aka Waltinho - Magi Ritmo (1963) b

5. Hélio Mendes & Trio Vagalume aka Quarteto Arpoador from the album Na Bossa aka Bossa no Castelinho) (1963, Musiplay LPM 1110 and Esquema EDL-MU 5024)

Helio Mendes_Na Bossa_1963 (a)    Quarteto Arpoador — Bossa No Castelinho (1)
Art work for Bossa No Castelinho by Joselito with photograph by Mafra

6. Luiz Carlos Vinhas from the album Novas Estruturas (1964, Forma FM-2)

Luiz Carlos Vinhas - Novas Estruturas (1964) a    Luiz Carlos Vinhas - Novas Estruturas (1964) b
Art work for Novas Estruturas showing a painting by Patrícia Tattersfield

7. Corisco & Os Sambaloucos from the album Outro Show de Bossa (1964, Philips P 632.190 L)

Corisco & Os Sambaloucos - Outro Show de Bossa (1964) a    Corisco & Os Sambaloucos - Outro Show de Bossa (1964) b

8. Trio Samba from the album Samba! Samba! Samba! (1964, Philips P 632.198 L)

Trio Samba — Samba! Samba! Samba! (a)    Trio Samba — Samba! Samba! Samba! (b)
Art work for Samba! Samba! Samba! by Paulo Brèves

9. Renato Perez from the album Samba Toff (1964, Chantecler CMG 2272)

Renato Perez - Samba Toff (1964)

10. 5 no Balanço from the album 5 no Balanço (1964, RCA Victor BBL 1266)

5 no Balanço - 5 no Balanço (1964)

11. Manfredo Fest from the album Evolução (1964, RGE XRLP 5236)

Manfredo Fest - Evolução (1964) a    Manfredo Fest - Evolução (1964) b
Art work for Evolução by Tide Hellmeister

12. Os Intocáveis from the album Os Intocáveis (1964, Audio Fidelity AFLP 2004)

Os_Intocaveis_03a    Os_Intocaveis_03b

13. Os Azes da Bossa from the album Sambas em Duas Bossas (1964, Musiplay LPM 1111)

O Azes da Bossa - Sambas em Duas Bossas (1964) a    O Azes da Bossa - Sambas em Duas Bossas (1964) b

14. Os Sambistas da Guanabara from the album Show de Samba Vol. 2 (1964, Odeon MOFB 3388)

Os Sambistas da Guanabara - Show de Samba Vol. 2 (1964) a    Os Sambistas da Guanabara - Show de Samba Vol. 2 (1964) b
Art work for
Show de Samba Vol. 2 by Moacyr Rocha with photograph by Mafra

15. Paulinho Nogueira from the album A Bossa Nova é Violâo (1964, RGE XRLP 5227)

Paulinho Nogueira — A Nova Bossa é Violão (a)    Paulinho Nogueira — A Nova Bossa é Violão (b) Art work for A Bossa Nova é Violâo by Tide Hellmeister

16. André Penazzi from the album Órgão, Samba, Percussão – Vol. 3 (1964, Audio Fidelity DFM 3022)

André Penazzi - Órgão, Samba, Percussão – Vol. 3 (1964)
Art work for Órgão, Samba, Percussão – Vol. 3 by Oscar Costa

17. Walter Wanderley from the album Entre Nós (1964, Philips P 632.197 L)

Walter Wanderley - Entre Nós (1966) a    Walter Wanderley - Entre Nós (1966) b

18. Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ‘66 from the album Herb Alpert presents: Sergio Mendes & Brazil ‘66 (1966, A&M Records [USA] SP 4116 and Fermata FB 159)

Sergio_Mendes_15a    Sergio_Mendes_15b
Art work for Herb Alpert presents: Sergio Mendes & Brazil ‘66 by Peter Whorf Graphics

19. Conjunto Jovem Brasa from the album Jovem Brasa Apresenta Samba Jovem (1966, RCA Victor BBL 1365)

Conjunto Jovem Brasa - Jovem Brasa Apresenta Samba Jovem (1966)

20. J.T. Meirelles from the album Brazilian Beat Vol. 2 (1967, London/Odeon LLB 1029)

J. T. Meirelles — Brazilian Beat Vol. 2 (a)    J. T. Meirelles — Brazilian Beat Vol. 2 (b)

21. Luiz Henrique from the album Barra Limpa (1967, Verve Records [USA] V6-8697)

Luiz Henrique - Barra Limpa (1967) a    Luiz Henrique - Barra Limpa (1967) b

22. Sivuca from the album Bossa Nova (Reprise Records [USA] 12.825)

Sivuca - Bossa Nova (1968)

23. Elza Soares from the album Sambas e Mais Sambas (1970, Odeon MOFB 3646)

Elza Soares - Sambas e Mais Sambas (1970)

24. Maria Creuza from the album Maria Creuza (1977, RGE 303.0044)

Maria Creuza - Maria Creuza (1977)

25. Jorge Ben from the album Tropical (1977, Philips 6349 326)

Jorge Ben - Tropical (1977)

Selected Medleys including Mas Que Nada:

1. Zimbo Trio from the album F.M. Stéreo (1974, Philips 6349 109)

Zimbo Trio - FM Stéreo (1974)

2. Rosana Tolédo & Pery Ribeiro from the album 100 Anos de Música Popular Brasileira – 6 Projeto Minerva (1975, MEC/Tapecar MPB-1006)

Various - 100 Anos de Música Popular Brasileira – 6 Projeto Minerva (1975) a    Various - 100 Anos de Música Popular Brasileira – 6 Projeto Minerva (1975) b

Selected recordings of Mas Que Nada originally not issued in Brazil:

1. Oscar Peterson from the album Soul Español (1966, Limelight [USA] LM 82044)

Oscar Peterson - Soul Español (1966)    Oscar Peterson - Soul Español (1966) b

2. Rubin Mitchell from the album Presenting Rubin Mitchell (1966, Capitol Records [USA] T-2658)

Rubin Mitchell - Presenting Rubin Mitchell (1966) a    Rubin Mitchell - Presenting Rubin Mitchell (1966) b

3. Lawrence Welk from the album Winchester Cathedral (1966, Dot Records [USA] DLP 25774)

Lawrence Welk - Winchester Cathedral (1966) a    Lawrence Welk - Winchester Cathedral (1966) b

4. Doc Severinsen from the album Swinging & Singing (1966, Command Records [USA] RS 909SD)

    Doc Severinsen - Swinging & Singing (1966) b

5. Emily Cranz from the single Más Que Nada b/w Noche Lluviosa en Tokio (1966, Capitol [MEX] EPEM-10111)

6. Dick Hyman from the album Brasilian Impressions (1966, Command Records [USA] RS 911 SD)

Dick Hyman - Brazilian Impressions (1967) a    Dick Hyman - Brazilian Impressions (1967) b

7. Rozana & Breno Sauer Quarteto from the album Rozana (1966, Discos RVV [MEX] RVV 1107)

Rozana & Breno Sauer Quarteto - Rozana (1966) a    Rozana & Breno Sauer Quarteto - Rozana (1966) b

8. Odell Brown & The Organ-izers from the album Mellow Yellow (1967, Cadet Records [USA] LPS-788)

Odell Brown & The Organ-izers - Mellow Yellow (1967) a    Odell Brown & The Organ-izers - Mellow Yellow (1967) b
Art work for Mellow Yellow by Tom Gorman with photograph by Edmond Edwards

9. The Brass Choir conducted by Warren Kime from the album Brass Impact (1967, Command Records [USA] RS 910 SD)

The Brass Choir conducted by Warren Kime - Brass Impact (1967) a    The Brass Choir conducted by Warren Kime - Brass Impact (1967) b

10. Dizzy Gillespie from the album Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac (1967, Impulse [USA] AS-9149)

Dizzy Gillespie - Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac (1967)

11. Tony Hatch from the album Beautiful in the Rain (1967, Pye Records [UK] NSPL 18176)

???????????????????????????????????????????    Tony Hatch - Beautiful in the Rain (1967) b

12. Edmundo Ros from the album Strings Latino (1968, London [UK] SP 44107 and Decca PFS 4145)

Edmundo Ros - Strings Latino (1968)

13. Ronnie Aldrich with The London Festival Orchestra from the album This Way In (1968, London [UK] SP 14416)

Ronnie Aldrich with The London Festival Orchestra - This Way In (1968)

14. Pery Ribeiro & Primo Quinteto from the album Pery (1968, Discos RVV [MEX] 111)

Pery Ribeiro & Primo Quinteto - Pery (1968) a    Pery Ribeiro & Primo Quinteto - Pery (1968) b

15. Astrud Gilberto from the album Gilberto Golden Japanese Album (1969, Verve [JAP] MV 2004)

Astrud Gilberto - Gilberto Golden Japanese Album (1969)

16. Klaus Wunderlich from the album Mr Hammond (1970, Telefunken [GER] TS 3108/1-2)

Klaus Wunderlich - Mr Hammond (1970)

17. Werner Müller from the album The Latin Splendor of Werner Müller (1970, Decca [UK] PFS.4199)

Werner Müller - The Latin Splendor of Werner Müller (1970)

18. Enoch Light & The Light Brigade from the album Permissive Polyphonics (1970, Project 3 Total Sound [USA] PR 5048 QD)

Enoch Light & The Light Brigade - Permissive Polyphonics (1970) a    Enoch Light & The Light Brigade - Permissive Polyphonics (1970) b

19. Isabelle Aubret from the album Casa Forte (1971, Disques Meys [FRA] 30.006)

Isabelle Aubret - Casa Forte (1971)

20. Ella Fitzgerald from the album Things Ain’t What They Used to be (and You Better Believe it) (1971, Reprise Records [USA] RLP 6432)

Ella Fitzgerald - Things Ain't What They Used To Be (And You Better Believe It) (1971) a    Ella Fitzgerald - Things Ain't What They Used To Be (And You Better Believe It) (1971) b

21. Horst Jankowski from the album Follow Me (1972, Intercord [GER] 28 503-1U)

Horst Jankowski - Follow Me (1972) a    Horst Jankowski - Follow Me (1972) b

Preface_Item_AltaFelididade_2nd_short_without-logo

MAS QUE NADA

O ariá raió • Obá obá obá

Mas que nada • Sai da minha frente • Eu quero passar • Pois o samba está animado • O que eu quero é sambar • Esse samba • Que é misto de maracatu • É samba de preto velho • Samba de preto tú

Mas que nada • Um samba como este tão legal • Você não vai querer • Que eu chegue no final

O ariá raió • Obá obá obá

Preface_Item_AltaFelididade_2nd_short_without-logo

MAS QUE NADA

Ooh, when your eyes meet mine…pow! pow! pow! • Ooh, I could lose my mind…ow! ow! ow!

It’s a feelin’ that things are gonna grow inside me • Til I feel that I’m gonna explode • Ooh, this is what you do to me • Are your lips saying things that you feel in your heart? • If your heart is beating madly, then let the music start

Hold me, hold me • It’s heaven, oh it’s heaven when you hold me • I want you night and day, I want you here to stay

Ooh, when your eyes meet mine…pow! pow! pow! • Ooh, I could lose my mind…ow! ow! ow!

[English lyrics by Norman Gimble]

Preface_Item_AltaFelididade_2nd_short

4 thoughts on “Song No. 31 — Mas Que Nada | Jorge Ben (1963)

  1. Hi, Andreas!
    Great reminder of Jorge Ben”s classic! All interpretaions are true delight!
    In my opinion the best are the very first – Jorge Ben with Ze Maria, then Luiz Henrique (a propos I’m recently got his “A bossa moderna de Luiz Henrique” ) and Tamba Trio!
    All the best Bossanov

    1. Zé Maria’s version is a favourite of mine, too, but I also like the jazz versions, e.g. by Odell Brown & The Organ-izers, as well as the more extravagant renditions, e.g. by Warren Kime. I think, Mas Que Nada is a perfect example how diverse a good song can be interpreted.
      thx
      AD

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