THE LEGEND THAT IS DEODATO flies into London town in mid January to make a rare live appearance over four nights at Ronnie Scotts in Soho. Will Page, the Senior Economist at Spotify and a regular contributor to Straight No Chaser magazine is no stranger to Deodato – the man, the music and his illustrious career – and this is his reasoning as to why we need to check him out.
Widely regarded as one of the most respected and sought-after musicians in the music world, Brazilian-born Eumir Deodato has racked up 16 platinum records to his credit as artist, arranger or producer with combined sales of well over 25 million records in the USA alone. His discography, including compilations and all his work as arranger, producer and keyboardist, surpasses 450 albums. Yet it will be his CTI recordings that will forever be associated with his name, none more so that innovative rendition of Richard Strauss’ classical opus Also Sprach Zarathustra (or more commonly known as the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey).
That single compelling song, which first appeared on his 1973 debut album for CTI Prelude, sold at least five million copies and earned Deodato his first Grammy Award, instantly moved him to international stardom. The legacy of Deodato’s music can be found in samples being used by other artists, as 2001 was picked up by Fun Loving Criminals’ ‘Kings of New York’ and Max Sedgley’s ‘Happy’ to name but a few. Almost forty years later, he reunited with fellow CTI musicians Billy Cobham, Airto and John Tropea to release the highly acclaimed album ‘The Crossing’ (Expansion Records).
Deodato built his career back in Brazil during the Sixties, discovering and recording Milton Nascimento as well as arranging the work of the great Antonio Carlos Jobim. Into the seventies and based in New York, Deodato worked with Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack, arranging the timeless hit ‘Killing Me Softly’. He went on to produce the Kool and the Gang Records, arrange three Bjork albums and more recently conducted the strings for KD Lang.
Going beyond those timeless CTI recordings of 2001, Super Strut and Skyscrapers; the enduring influence of Deodato remains as strong as ever. The track ‘Whistle Bump’ from the 1978 album Love Island is considered by many DJs to be at the root of modern day house music. Rapper Lupe Fiasco ‘looped’ Deodato’s work into his hit ‘Paris Tokyo’. And yet he continues to be in-demand, working with Spanish singer Luz Casal and developing emerging talent like Lara Rizzotto. Four nights at Ronnie Scotts offers a rare opportunity for UK audiences to watch this uniquely rich and diverse career be performed live on stage.
Eumir Deodato is at Ronnie Scotts, Frith St, London W1- Weds 16th – Saturday 20th January