Pianist Dom Salvador was born in 1938 in Rio Claro, Sao Paulo and started his professional career at the tender age of twelve, playing piano in a local orchestra. From 1961 onwards he became known as a pianist, especially at a club in his native city called Lancaster which turned out to be a meeting place for jazz musicians. Bossa nova was starting to happen in Rio, however, and Salvador moved on to that city and in particular to the merging club scene in the area of Copacabana such as the club Beco das Garrafas. Simultaneously, he accompanied some of the emerging stars of Brazilian music on television such as Jorge Ben, Quarteto em Cy and Elis Regina. By 1965 Dom Salvador had formed the Rio 65 Trio with Edison Machado on drums and Sergio Barroso on bass. The two re-issues from Mr Bongo cover this mid-1960s period when Dom Salvador had just formed his own trio, though each album has different personnel. The first of these, ‘Salvador Trio’ from 1965, is the stronger and features Edson Lobo (distinct from singer-songwriter and guitarist Edu Lobo) on bass and Victor Manga on drums. A whole host of uptempo numbers make this a treat from start to finish. Highly melodic and a fine example of the hard bossa style is ‘Santarem’ while the influence of Horace Silver is felt on ‘Tematrio’ and this should not be too much of a surprise since Silver himself was in turn influenced by listening to samba music, had Portugese language and Cape Verdean roots via his father (to whom the classic ‘Song for my father’ was devoted) and enjoyed a close relationship with none other than Sergio Mendes who invited Silver to stay in Rio. Brazilian musicians have long revered Silver’s music and covered his compositions. For ultra-rapid bossa, look no further than the breakneck speed of ‘Miscelânia’ and the drumming vehicle that is appropriately title ‘Pro bateria’. For some welcome variation, there is a slow-paced cover of Edu Lob’s ‘Arrastao’ and the waltz-like ‘Das rosas’ whereas the understated bossa ‘Promessa’ has a nursery rhyme feel in its theme.
Dom Salvador changed attack on the following album. ‘Tristeza’ and this is a slightly milder affair, though still not without its own merits. There is some jazzy improvising on ‘Fred’s ahead’ with again a Horace Silver influence discernable under the surface while a percussive interpretation of the title track, which has become a jazz standard for vocalists such as Sarah Vaughan, is taken at a quicker tempo than per usual. A Joao Donato piece ‘Indio perdido’ is transfomed into a fine bossa and Dom Salvador expands his instrumental range, performing on the organ-led smoocher ‘Eu compro essa mulher’. For some more introverted piano trio playing, ‘Um sonho azul’ (‘Blue sound’) fits the bill while the famous bossa vocal song ‘Sonho de carnaval’ here oscillates between slow and fast pace. During 1966 Dom Salvador toured Europe with Edu Lobo, Silvia Teles and Rosinha Da Valença, recording with the latter the unforgettable hard bossa ‘Meu fraco é café’ which found its way onto the MPS compilation of Brazilian music re-issued on CD as ‘Jazz meets Brazil’. By 1970 Salvador had changed labels to CBS for a single album plus reeds that has become a collectors item and has yet to be re-issued in the UK on CD, though was briefly available on limited edition vinyl.