Dec 28, 2010

brazilian jazz 01 - antonio carlos jobim

   I have loved music of brazil quite a while. Brazilian music is commonly called bossanova jazz, but properly speaking, bossanova is one genre of brazilian music. Just pioneer and creator of this genre was Antonio Carlos Jobim. He influenced Stan Getz and Charles L. Byrd representatives of 'New York jazz'. Now i try to introduce him, his music and his clout.

who is he?

Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim

 Brazilian songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, guitarist and pianist

Born to died
 january 25, 1927 in Rio de Janeiro 
– december 8, 1994 in New York

Years active
 1956 – 1994

 Bossa nova

Associated acts
 Vinicius de Moraes, Joao Gilberto, Astrud Gilberto, Stan Getz, Frank Sinatra


Early life and career
   Jobim's musical roots were planted firmly in the work of Pixinguinha, the legendary musician and composer who began modern Brazilian music in the 1930s. Among his teachers were Lucia Branco, and, from 1941 on, Hans-Joachim Koellreutter. Jobim was also influenced by the French composers Claude Debussy and Ravel, and by jazz. Among many themes, his lyrics talked about love, self discovery, betrayal, joy and especially about the birds and natural wonders of Brazil, like the "Mata Atlantica" forest, characters of Brazilian folklore like Matita Pereira (Saci Perere), and his home city of Rio de Janeiro.
   Jobim became prominent in Brazil when he teamed up with poet and diplomat Vinicius de Moraes to write the music for the play Orfeu de Conceicao (1956). The most popular song from the show was "Se Todos Fossem Iguais A Voce" ("Someone to Light Up My Life"). Later, when the play was turned into a film, producer Sacha Gordine did not want to use any of the existing music from the play. Gordine asked de Moraes and Jobim for a new score for the film Black Orpheus (1959). Moraes was at the time away in Montevideo, Uruguay, working for the Itamaraty (the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and so he and Jobim were only able to write three songs, primarily over the telephone ("A Felicidade", "Frevo",and "O Nosso Amor"). This collaboration proved successful, and Vinicius went on to pen the lyrics to some of Jobim's most popular songs.

   A key event in making Jobim's music known in the English speaking world was his collaboration with the American jazz saxophonist Stan Getz, Joao Gilberto and Gilberto's wife at the time, Astrud Gilberto, which resulted in two albums, Getz/Gilberto (1963) and Getz/Gilberto Vol. 2 (1964). The release of Getz/Gilberto created a bossa nova craze in the United States, and subsequently internationally.
Getz had previously recorded Jazz Samba with Charlie Byrd (1962), and Jazz Samba Encore! with Luiz Bonfa (1964). Jobim wrote many of the songs on Getz/Gilberto, which became one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, and turned Astrud Gilberto, who sang on "The Girl from Ipanema" and "Corcovado", into an international sensation.
   At the Grammy Awards of 1964 Getz/Gilberto won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group and the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. "The Girl from Ipanema" won the award for Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

(underlined tracks in present about each album are my recommendation.)

Main albums

1963 The Composer of Desafinado, Plays (Verve)

   In his first American album, Antonio Carlos Jobim presents a dozen of his songs, each one destined to become a standard - an astounding batting average. Jobim, who claimed to have been out of practice at the time of the session, merely plays single notes on the piano with one hand, punctuated by chords now and then, sticking to his long, undulating melodies with a few passages of jazz improvisation now and then. Yet it is a lovely idea, not a gesture is wasted. Arranger Claus Ogerman unveils many of the trademarks that would define his Creed Taylor-produced albums with Jobim - the soaring, dying solo flute and spare, brooding unison string lines widening into lush harmony; flutes doubling on top of Jobim's piano chords - again with an exquisitely spare touch. The songs include "Desafinado," "Corcovado," "Chega de Saudade" (No More Blues), "The Girl From Ipanema," "Meditation," "One Note Samba," and half-a-dozen others (every one of which is included on The Man From Ipanema set).


1966 Love, Strings and Jobim: The Eloquence of Antonio Carlos Jobim (Warner music)

1967 Wave (Universal Distribution)

   When Creed Taylor left Verve/MGM for his own label under the auspices of A&M, he quickly signed Antonio Carlos Jobim and they picked up right where they left off with this stunningly seductive record, possibly Jobim's best. Jobim contributes his sparely rhythmic acoustic guitar, simple melodic piano style, a guest turn at the harpsichord, and even a vocal on "Lamento," while Claus Ogerman lends a romantically brooding hand with the charts. A pair of instant standards are introduced ("Wave," "Triste"), but this album is to be cherished for its absolutely first-rate tunes - actually miniature tone poems - that escaped overexposure and thus sound fresh today. The most beautiful sleeper is "Batidinha", where the intuitive Jobim/Ogerman collaboration reaches its peak. One only wishes that this album were longer; 31:45 is not enough.

1970 Stone Flower (Epic/CTI)

   Recorded in 1970 at Rudy Van Gelder's studio in New Jersey under the production auspices of Creed Taylor, the arrangement and conducting skills of Deodato, and the engineering expertise of Van Gelder himself, Jobim's Stone Flower is quite simply one of his most quietly stunning works - and certainly the high point of his time at Columbia. Nearly a decade after the paint peeled from the shine of bossa nova's domination of both the pop and jazz charts in the early '60s, Creed Taylor brought Jobim's tender hush of the bossa sound back into the limelight. With a band that included both Jobim and Deodato on guitars (Jobim also plays piano and sings in a couple of spots), Ron Carter on bass, Joao Palma on drums, Airto Moreira and Everaldo Ferreira on percussion, Urbie Green on trombone, Joe Farrell on soprano saxophone, and Harry Lookofsky laying down a soulful violin solo on the title track, Jobim created his own version of Kind of Blue. The set opens with the low, simmering "Tereza My Love," with its hushed, elongated trombone lines and shifting acoustic guitars floating on the evening breeze. It begins intimate and ends with a closeness that is almost uncomfortably sensual, even for bossa nova. And then there are the slippery piano melodies Jobim lets roll off his fingers against a backdrop of gauzy strings and syncopated rhythms in both "Choro" and "Brazil." The latter is a samba tune with a sprightly tempo brought to the fore by Jobim's sandy, smoky vocal hovering ghost-like about the instrumental shimmer in the mix. Take, for instance, the title track with its stuttered, near imperceptible percussion laid under a Jobim piano melody of such simplicity, it's harmonically deceptive. It isn't until Lookofsky enters for his solo that you realize just how sophisticated and dense both rhythm and the chromatic lyricism are. The album closes with a reprise of "Brazil," restating a theme that has, surprisingly been touched upon in every track since the original inception, making most of the disc a suite that is a lush, sense-altering mediation, not only on Jobim's music and the portraits it paints, but ON the sounds employed by Taylor to achieve this effect. Stone Flower is simply brilliant, a velvety, late-night snapshot of Jobim at his peak.

1970 Tide (Polygram)

   On Jobim's second A&M album, Eumir Deodato takes over the chart-making tasks, and the difference between him and Claus Ogerman is quite apparent in the remake of "The Girl From Ipanema": the charts are heavier, more dramatic, and structured. Sometimes the arrangements roll back so one can hear, say, the dancing multi-phonic flute of wildman Hermeto Pascoal on "Tema Jazz", and the rhythms often veer away from the familiar ticking of the bossa nova. Jobim is his usual understated self, adding very subtle electric piano to his arsenal of acoustic piano and guitar, but the material sometimes falls short of Jobim's tip-top level (dead giveaway: "Tide" is a clever rewrite on the chord changes of "Wave"). Still, it's beautifully made and very musical at all times.

1972 Jobim (Verve)

   Though this is one of the more obscure Jobim albums, it did introduce what some believe is Jobim's masterpiece, the hypnotically revolving song "Aguas de Marco" (heard here in Portuguese and English versions). Mostly, however, the record lets listeners in on another side of Jobim, the Debussy/Villa-Lobos-inspired creator of moody instrumental tone poems for films and whatnot, with the instrumental colors filled in by Jobim's old cohort, Claus Ogerman. This was supposed to be a breakthrough for Jobim, bursting out of the bossa nova idiom into uncharted territory, yet a lot of this often undeniably beautiful music merely treads over ground that Villa-Lobos explored long before ("Train to Cordisburgo" especially). In any case, Jobim would explore his serious muse with greater success later on. 

                                                       1972 Look to the Sky (CTI Records (Creed Taylor Inc.))

1973 Matita Pere (Polygram)

1974 Elis & Tom (Polygram)
   This beautiful - and now legendary - recording date between iconic Brazilian vocalist Elis Regina and composer, conductor, and arranger Tom Jobim is widely regarded as one of the greatest Brazilian pop recordings. It is nearly ubiquitous among Brazilians as a household item. Regina's voice is among the most loved in the history of Brazilian music. Her range and acuity, her unique phrasing, and her rainbow of emotional colors are literally unmatched, and no matter the tune or arrangement, she employs most of them on these 14 cuts. Another compelling aspect of this recording is the young band Jobim employs here and allows pretty free rein throughout. He plays piano on eight of these tracks, and guitar on two others, but the fluid, heightened instincts of these players - guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, Luizao Maia on bass, drummer Paulinho Braga, and pianist Cesar Mariano - reveal them to be at the top of their game for this rather informal date that does include a few numbers with a full orchestra. That said, most of these songs were completed as first takes with very little overdubbing. The ballads are stunning - check "Modinha," written and arranged by Jobim. The chart, even with an orchestral backing, is amazingly terse because the composer knew Regina worked best within minimal settings. Only two minutes and 16 seconds in length, it nonetheless captures the Portuguese notion of "saudade" perfectly. Of course, most of these tunes are bossa novas. The opening "Águas de Março" features a deceptively simple cat-and-mouse vocal call and response, kicking the disc off on a light, cheerful note; it's a delightful and very sophisticated number, but it feels effortless. "Triste" is one of Jobim's finest tunes, and there is scarcely a better version of it than this one. Even with electric guitars (complete with a semi-funky solo in the middle eight) on top of the nylon strings, the gauzy yet pronounced rhythms and the languid melody delivered by Regina are gorgeous. "Corcovado" is done with an orchestra, full of lilting flutes and a deep string backdrop. It is mournful and sensual. Jobim plays guitar and piano here, and adds a hushed backing vocal to Regina's refrains. It's an unusual reading, but a stellar one. "Brigas, Nuncas Mais" is a wonderfully accented - if brief - bossa nova with all the percussion just above the threshold of hearing. It's all guitars, bass, and Regina in the first verse before the Rhodes piano and counterpoint enter near the end. She does more to express the true elegant sensuality of the bossa nova in a minute and 13 seconds than some singers have in a lifetime. Jobim's classic jazz ballad "Inútil Paisagem" is very difficult to deliver well, because it requires incredible restraint and emotion. Accompanied only by Jobim's piano - and his all-but-whispered backing vocal - this is truly one of Regina's greatest performances of the 1970s. It closes the album on a stunning high note, leaving nothing to be desired by the listener. [Strangely, although it was recorded in Los Angeles in early 1974 - during one of Jobim's long stays in United States - it was not released in the States until 1990, and then only briefly. Thanks to Verve's excellent Originals series, in 2008 it was made available in gloriously remastered digital sound.]

1976 Urubu (Warner Bros.)
   Urubu is the album that MCA's Jobim probably aspired to be, a total break away from the bossa nova past that is both ambitious and strikingly original. The shock of dissonant strings, percussive and wind sounds from the Brazilian interior greet us on the first track "Bôto," the first of four songs in which a defiant Jobim throws structural complexities at us and sings in Portuguese only. The second four tracks are an even more radical departure; all are classical orchestral pieces, melancholy and even anguished in tone, owing little or nothing to anyone, streaked with imaginative, even avant-garde orchestral touches from Claus Ogerman. Clearly we are not on the Ipanema beach anymore, and although this may be rough going for jazz-minded Jobim fans, the pay-off is a glimpse into the depths of Jobim's soul.

1980 Terra Brasilis (Warner Bros.)

   In some ways, this is a strategic retreat for Antonio Carlos Jobim after the classical departures of the '70s - a retrospective of past triumphs, including some of the most trod-upon standards ("Ipanema," "Desafinado," "One-Note Samba," etc.), with Claus Ogerman again at hand. But these are thoughtful retoolings, some subtle, some radical, ranging in backing from a lonely piano to elaborate yet sensitive Ogerman orchestral flights that cram more complexity than ever into the spaces (listen to his beguilingly involved take on "Double Rainbow") with only a few overbearing faux pas. Jobim's own vocals sound increasingly casual in temperament as he serves them up in an unpredictable mixture of Portuguese, English and scat. And there is much unfamiliar material here, often dressed up in a brooding classical manner. Originally a two-LP set and later on one CD, this is a snapshot of Jobim's view of his output as of 1980; as such, it is not as definitive as Verve's posthumous "The Man from Ipanema" set.

1985 E Convidados (Verve)

   When the listening world begins to reflect on the beauty of bossa nova, they dare not forget the achievements of Portugal's Antonio Carlos Jobim, short for Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almedia Jobim. This unique musician and composer brought a new revolution of sound and soul to the Latin American public, and is well known for introducing the popular tune "The Girl From Ipanema" to the United States musical mainstream in the 1960s. It was then, with the support of casts of Latin American musicians, including Joao and Astrid Gilberto, that he received well-deserved applause from listeners eager to taste new varieties of music. During this time of great change, a personal friend and quality performer in his own right, Frank Sinatra was so inspired by this new beat that he began to sing many bossa nova tunes written by Jobim, thrusting this new musical language even further into the American limelight. Jobim has composed hundreds of songs, opening the doors of the world to Brazilian music and culture beginning in the 1960s. He is regarded for being the one to truly establish bossa nova as a new genre of music. "Tom must compose. Without him we have nothing to sing," noted Sinatra. His chart-topper and romantic hit "The Girl From Ipanema" sold over a million records in the states. "Garota De Ipanema," as it is referred to in Portuguese, and five more of Jobim's works received radio airplay close to a million times during the 1960s. Only Paul McCartney's "Yesterday" shared that much radio time. This collection released on vinyl by Verve and Polygram in 1985 presents the best of Jobim and his genuine craft. The album is filled with hauntingly beautiful ballads full of delight, romance, and sheer charm. Jobim begins his musical storytelling with "Aguas de Marco," Portuguese for "The Waters of March." This tune features the great Brazilian singer Elis Regina in a duet with Jobim. Respected jazz critic Leonard Feather sights this song as one of the greatest ever written. It is known among Latin American composers that Jobim called upon many of Brazil's talented poet laureate's for songwriting lessons. It was reported by Carlos Drummund de Andrade that "the author of "Waters of March" doesn't need any lessons from anybody." Other songs featured here are "Pra Dizer Adeus (To Say Goodbye)" and "Soneta De Separacao (Separation Sonnet)," which both display the texture and dexterity of Jobim's smooth, mellow piano playing. A tune that can really bring the listener to the air is "Samba Do Aviao (Song of the Jet)," which a marvelous orchestration opens up into a serenading flute solo in the midst of Jobim backing up on the guitar. By this point in the record, those who have not dipped their feet into the bossa scene until now will have a good sense of the meaning of the style's jumpy, uplifting rhythms. Renowned Latin singer Elis Regina puts together a moving piece with the artist in "Chovendo Na Roseira (Raining in the Rose Garden)." Perhaps the sleeper hit of the collection is Jobim's composition for a girl, "Luiza," quite a stunning love ballad. E Convidados is a rare collection of eloquently crafted songs in the highest degree of musicianship. This indelible combination of pizzazz and romance gives the listener a perfect image of the vitality of Jobim's ingenious work, which will forever be deemed timeless.

1986 A Certain Mr. Jobim [DBK Works] (Discovery Records)

   This album has had a somewhat confusing release history, appearing as it did amid a flurry of activity by Jobim (including his work with Frank Sinatra) and bouncing between several labels since its first release in 1967. Made up of instrumentals as well as songs (all of the latter in English), it was a superb showcase for the melodic aspect of Jobim's art, though the material, like so much of Jobim's work during his explosive first decade of international recognition, represented something of a work in progress, a fact borne out by the subsequent reworking of the stunning closing number, "Zingaro," as "Retrato Em Branco E Preto." Claus Ogerman's musical direction offers a mix of influences, ranging from Dom um Romao's drumming to the presence of the first violinist of the New York Philharmonic, all combining to sympathetic effect. The post-2000 CD remasterings also offer superb sound and excellent annotation.

1987 Passarim (Verve)

   Passarim is Jobim's major statement of the '80s, emerging during a time when Jobim's concerns were turning increasingly toward Planet Earth issues. The title song is one of Jobim's most haunting creations, a cry of pain about the the destruction of the Brazilian rainforest that resonates in the memory for hours. Also, by this time Jobim had resumed touring with a large group containing friends and family, and they carry a great deal of the load here, with lots of airy female backup vocals, two worthy songs by Jobim's multi-talented son Paulo and another by flutist/singer Danilo Caymmi. Recorded entirely in Rio, the record's overall sound is very different from Jobim's '60s and '70s work - denser, hazier, still grounded in the samba yet rougher in texture (as is Jobim's voice). Though not as immediately winning as the Creed Taylor-produced albums, this music repays repeated listening - particularly the extended suite from Jobim's score for the film Gabriela -- and there are samples of Jobim's wry humor in "Chansong" and the bossa nova reworking of "Fascinatin' Rhythm".

1989 Echoes of Rio (RCA)

1991 Trilha Sonora Do Filme Gabriela (RCA Gold Seal)
1993 Antonio Carlos Jobim & Miucha (Kardum)

1994 Miucha e Tom Jobim, Vol. 1 (SouthBound)
   Miucha, an experienced singer (sister of Chico Buarque), and Tom Jobim teamed to record this little jewel, where they cover Jobim's classics such as "Samba Do Aviao," "Falando de Amor," and "E Preciso Dizer Adeus"; Vinícius' hits like "Samba Do Carioca" and "Pela Luz Dos Olhos Teus" (wonderful duo rendition in this lovely 6/8 song); Chico Buarque's "Maninha," "Vai Levando," and "Olhos Nos Olhos"; and even the Ary Barroso immortal "Na Batucada Da Vida." One of the recordings in which the maestro sings musically, the album also has Chico Buarque as a special guest on three tracks. Pay attention to the "Comigo E Assim" track, where one can check the respect devoted by Jobim for the samba tradition, which puts in perspective the so-called movement of bossa nova, since Jobim and Joao Gilberto always said that such thing never existed.

1995 Antonio Brasileiro (Sony Discos Inc.)
   Not only did Jobim stay active until the end of his life, he showed virtually no signs of creative burnout, as this, his last album, wondrously displays. Surrounded again by family and friends, he delivered a brace of 13 songs and compositions (plus two songs by the veteran songwriter Dorival Caymmi), many of them relatively new, most as heartbreakingly beautiful as anything from the bossa nova years. Sometimes Jobim's voice, never impressive, is almost gone and the production has a rough-hewn finish, but it doesn't matter; Jobim's craft and his brood carry him through, and son Paulo Jobim provides thick but highly competent orchestral arrangements. An especially touching passage is the brief "Samba de Maria Luiza," a Jobim duet with his little daughter Maria Luiza, who also turns up on the succeeding ode for the environment, "Forever Green." The final tone poem, "Trem De Ferro," obviously inspired by Heitor Villa-Lobos, is also the most startling, a strange chugging simulation of a train cutting through the underbrush. There is also an idiomatic duet with Sting on the familiar "How Insensitive" (later included on the Red, Hot and Rio anthology), and Caymmi makes a guest vocal appearance on "Maricotinha." Obviously Jobim still had a lot to give, making his death later in 1994 an even more poignant blow. Issued for the Latin market only, though pressed in the U.S., the CD is not difficult to locate in well-stocked big city shops.

1996 Antonio Carlos Jobim and Friends (Polygram)

   Jobim made his last Brazilian concert appearance -- and the penultimate one of his life - at this warm, star-studded affair in which American jazz musicians jetted down to the Free Jazz Festival in São Paulo to pay effusive homage. The miracle is how easily the jazzers were able to capture the yearning essence of Jobim's idiom without really compromising their own distinct styles. Thus, Joe Henderson welds his trademark unpredictable flurries into the cool tenor sax bossa nova tradition, Shirley Horn does "Once I Loved" in her own inimitable manner that matches the mood of the song perfectly, Jon Hendricks' scatting fits the samba like a glove. The pianists go somewhat outside the idiom - Herbie Hancock's modern complexity, Gonzalo Rubalcaba's technical fireworks laced with Afro-Cuban salsa - but they stay within their orbits around the Jobim sun. The composer himself only appears on the last four tracks - he sounds weary and ill - yet he radiates his gentle warmth and spirit throughout the evening.

2000 Raros Compassos, Vol. 2 (Revivendo)
2008 Tom Pra Dois (Emarcy)

   Although released under Antonio Carlos Jobim's name, Tom Pra Dois (which is Portuguese for Tom for Two) is really a various-artists compilation; Jobim himself appears on some selections that were recorded in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, although other selections were recorded after his death (Jobim died of heart failure in 1994 at the age of 67). But all of the songs were written or co-written by Jobim, and everything on this 46-minute CD illustrates, in some fashion, the importance of his contributions to Brazilian music. Jobim's influence is all over Tom Pra Dois regardless of whether something was recorded during his lifetime or whether it was recorded posthumously. Jobim teams up with Elis Regina on "Fotografia," with Astrud Gilberto and Marty Paich on "Água de Beber," and with Chico Buarque on "Anos Dourados," but singer Ithamara Koorax's memorable performance of the well-known Jobim standard "Corcovado" was recorded after his demise. Koorax, in fact, was two years away from being born when Astrud Gilberto, Joao Gilberto, and Stan Getz joined forces for their hit 1963 version of "The Girl from Ipanema," which features Jobim on acoustic piano and is easily the most famous recording on this album. "The Girl from Ipanema" has been recorded by numerous artists over the years, but the version that is offered on Tom Pra Dois is by far the most celebrated. Of course, the Jobim songbook in general continues to be celebrated; he was one of the most iconic figures in the history of Brazilian jazz, Brazilian pop, and bossa nova, and his songs are still being recorded frequently long after his death. Jobim's admirers will find a lot to savor on Tom Pra Dois.

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