Last Thursday I drove up to Tarrytown after work to meet with Roger Bruno, musician, songwriter and former friend and band-mate of Tim Maia. Roger and his partner, Ellen, met me at a really chill coffee shop on Main Street Tarrytown, called Coffee Labs. I was happy to see that it's a hard-core coffee roaster, with a roasting machine in the middle of the room and they also are also fellow travelers on the Fair Trade bandwagon.
I recognized Roger and Ellen from their website. We talked for over an hour and a half about Tim and the music scene in Westchester, NY in the early sixties. I'm gonna save the good quotes for the Wax Poetics article I'm scraping together, but I will share the best part about the meeting . . . seeing this photo:
from L-R: Roger Bruno, Felix DeMasi, Tim, Paul Mitranga, Bill Adair
This photo was taken during one of The Ideals' recording sessions in New York City, most likely for the song "New Love." This brings me back to the original motivation for contacting Roger Bruno. This is what Roger told me in an email recently, "I tracked down the original acetate of the Ideals recording of "New Love," although I don't have it in hand yet." Turns out a past girlfriend of Roger's is in possession of the acetate and is happy to share it with Roger along with some other photos and memorabilia from the time. The song was never released commercially. The Ideals were planning on shopping it around to different labels, but Tim got arrested and deported before they had a chance! Roger confirmed that the famous Brazilian drummer Milton Banana played on the session as did well-known jazz and rock bassist Don Payne. Roger said that the song was an attempt to explore the then burgeoning Bossa Nova sound and sweetening it with some soulful five-part vocal harmony.
The craziest thing about this whole adventure is that Roger was not aware of his former song-writing partner's history after being deported from the U.S. It was my email to him a few weeks ago that started this whole process of rediscovery and excavation of long-forgotten memories. I'm so thrilled that Roger is up for the journey down memory road.
A curious side-note to all of this is that some friends of Roger & Ellen's from when they lived in Boston in the early seventies also have a connection with Tim Maia that Roger and Ellen only just recently found out about. After Paul and Sheila Smith left Boston they wound their way to Brazil, where they stayed for seven months and somehow ended up meeting Tim Maia and even singing back-up vocals on the song "Reu Confesso" (see this earlier post on Soul Spectrum to listen to this song) from the very same album that features the re-recording of "New Love." Neither Roger, nor Paul or Sheila knew that the other had ever known Tim and all three of their names appear on the back of the same album! Paul agreed to talk with me about his and Sheila's time in Brazil, so more updates to come!