#95 / The Jaime Roos ‘Complete Works’: A Must-Have for (Serious) Alt Latin Music Lovers

Mujer de sal junto a un hombre vuelto carbón (1985)


Liner notes by Guilherme de Alencar Pinto: “Jaime Roos and Estela Magnone met in mid-1982 and had an affectionate relationship until the latter part of that year. In February 1984, soon after Jaime’s permanent return to Uruguay, they resumed their relationship as a couple with a more solid base: They would be together for 15 years.

Estela’s musicality, especially her harmonic sensibility, impressed Jaime from the beginning. Schooled in a family of musicians, Estela started performing as a solo artist in 1978, within the context of Canto Popular. En 1981, along with Mariana Ingold and Mayra Hugo, she would form the Travesía trio, and they recorded for the first time in Jaime’s album Siempre son las cuatro (1982). Travesía’s only record, Ni un minuto más de dolor (1983), was coproduced by Jaime and Carlos da Silveira. The album includes Estela’s first compositions, including her first lyrics (‘Andenes’) and her first co-authorship with Jaime (‘Carbón y sal’).

Within that context, they had the idea of making a duets album that would also be a couple’s album, with equally shared responsibilities: Music by Estela, arrangements by Jaime, and lyrics by both. It is, obviously, a peculiar album within Jaime’s discography, and the production decisions emphasized that feature. Jaime was living a moment that was impregnated with Uruguayan popular roots: He worked as an accompanist for El Sabalero, was a member of Repique and was preparing the Brindis por Pierrot album. Mujer de sal junto a un hombre vuelto carbón, for him, was like a stylistic oasis, his opportunity to venture into different musical worlds suggested by Estela’s compositions. These compositions were highly refined, but Jaime reworked them (in certain cases radically, as in ‘Casi tu cara’ and ‘Es como II’) or added counterpoints that expanded its tonal range. It was also an ideal place to channel his fascination with Béla Bartók, his favorite composer during his recent Amsterdam exile. All of that was part of the search for a ‘European’ and Autumnal feel for the album, characteristics Jaime associated with Prado, Estela’s neighborhood, known for its parks and old aristocratic stately homes.

Another premise was a rigorous ‘demo’ aesthetic, stressed by the option of playing without ‘tuco’ (that is, without those semi-improvised elements that help convey a sensation of warmth and looseness).

Within the record’s sound there is a bipolarity between mechanical-technological elements (the Roland Juno-6, a programmed drum machine) and ancient ones (the vertical piano at Estela’s house), and even primitive ones (the organic sounds in the accompaniment of ‘Tras tus ojos,’ complete with body percussion, breathing, clicking sounds and voices uttered in unusual ways, the only exceptions to the demo-like approach).

Among Jaime’s albums, after Candombe del 31 this is the one that used less hours of studio (about 100). The cover photo was taken in front of a soon-to-be demolished abandoned house on Capurro street.

Completed in the Spring of 1985, the album was released at the same time as the massively successful Brindis por Pierrot (recorded almost immediately after). This, coupled with the particular stylistic conception, contributed to the album being overshadowed. In fact, it’s the least commercially successful album in Jaime’s discography. ‘Carbón y sal’ would eventually have a good impact after being re-released on a Jaime compilation called Antología (1988), which went Platinum. The whole album was released on CD along with Vals prismático (1993, Estela’s first solo album, also produced by Jaime). This is the first complete digital release, since it includes ‘Tras tus ojos’ in its entirety, unlike previous CD editions.”

Next page: 7 y 3 (1986).

13 thoughts on “#95 / The Jaime Roos ‘Complete Works’: A Must-Have for (Serious) Alt Latin Music Lovers

  1. Enrique – saludos desde Irlanda. Thank you for these blogs about Jaime Roos’ music. I am a great admirer of this soulful, honest and important music from a beautiful and soulful country. I didn’t know if the 4 CDs in the new batch are the same quality as the first sets, your blogs have corrected that for me.

    I did buy some in Montevideo but have also been able to find them also on Amazon (muy, muy caro) or ebay (mejor precio).

    Do you know why “Brindis Por Pierrot” has not been released as a standalone disc or am I missing something?

    Gracias por su trabajo, Simon Leng


    • OK, Guilherme explains this clearly in his commentary to Selladas Uno, but here’s a quick summary: The ‘Brindis por Pierrot’ album only included three new songs: “Brindis por Pierrot,” “Murga de la Pica” and the new version of “Cometa de la Farola.” The other six songs had already been released on other albums. ‘Selladas Uno’ includes these three songs.

      The ‘Brindis por Pierrot’ album is not included in this collection because the idea is not to repeat songs, except in the case of different versions of one song, but not the same version.

      These 13 albums only include three “repeat” songs: the Estela Magnone duets included in both the ‘Mujer de sal junto a un hombre vuelto carbón’ and ‘El Puente’ albums.

      I hope this clarifies things. Thanks for reading and listening!


  2. Thanks, that is great information. Here’s a thought for you…..is “Fuera de Ambiente” Jaime Roos’ masterpiece? To my ears it could be


    • I love ‘Fuera de Ambiente,’ but I’m not sure if it’s his masterpiece. Definitely one of his best, and unfairly underrated. It’s his only album of originals with no solos. Everything is written down. Beautiful songs. When I saw him live for the last time in 2007, my mother was on her deathbed and he kindly dedicated “Catalina” to her. I think his first masterpiece is ‘Aquello’, but I also love ‘Siempre son las cuatro’, ‘Mediocampo’ and ‘Estamos rodeados’. And ‘La Margarita’ too. But I love them all. I’m a diehard fan.


      • I look forward to hearing the next set of 4 which I ordered for a reasonable price on amazon, so they are available globally. I especially like “Vida Numero Dos” which I think is a profound piece and captures many different musical elements…some of which I have written about:


        I am pro-Uruguay so probably biased but as well as great soccer players and teams the country has produced some really world class music with Opa, Ruben Rada and Jaime Roos leading the pack. Outstanding musicians.

        Best wishes…


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