Antonio Carlos Jobim – Endito

As a celebration of “Tom” Jobim‘s 60th birthday in 1987, a Brazilian consort simply called the Organization sponsored an album that anthologized his output as a composer. Jobim made the final choices of 24 tunes, recorded them with his band of family and friends, and the results were released privately in a limited edition. Recorded at around the same time as Passarim, it’s possible that Jobimdid not want this retrospective to compete with his new material. Not until 1995 did the Brazilian arm of BMG put out a commercial edition of this project in a very handsome two-CD box with a beautifully illustrated 38-page color booklet (alas, the contents could have been easily squeezed onto only one CD). It’s far from a casual project, obviously carefully rehearsed and polished; rather it’s an intimate one, using a minimum of resources, backed only by Jobim‘s simply-stated piano on several tracks. There is the expected quota of greatest hits like “Desafinado,” “One Note Samba,” “Chega de Saudades,” and “Wave,” yet the bulk of the material is not very familiar, often dispatched in to-the-point slices that sometimes clock in at less than two minutes. Jobim also takes a personal flyer by including his countryman Heitor Villa-Lobos‘ haunting “Seresta No. 5,” with just himself on piano backing Danilo Caymmi‘s vocal, followed by his own “Modinha.” Jaques Morelenbaum provides the occasional string arrangements and cello solos, again keeping things uncluttered and decidedly less ambitious than Claus Ogerman‘s charts on a previous Jobim retrospective, Terra Brasilis. Sometimes the arrangements are unpredictable; “The Girl From Ipanema” omits the words of the first chorus, picking up the thread on the bridge, and the stunning “Estrada do Sol” shifts gears several times. The feeling of saudade is very much front and center on Jobim‘s birthday present to himself — he later said that this was his favorite album — and all of his connoisseurs should try to hunt it down in the import bins.  Also available...

BOSSANAIRE – HOLIDAY

This is the second offering from the talented Portland based jazz vocal group.   Bossanaire artfully mines the rich tradition of bossa nova popularized  by Jobim, Sergio Mendes  and Gilberto/Getz.  Don’t be fooled by the title of their latest release. It is not a seasonal/Christmas album.  It is a wonderfully conceived and performed set of original material that will transport you to the warmth, sun and sand of whatever beach fantasy you might...

Bossanaire – Holiday

This is the second offering from the talented Portland based jazz vocal group.   Bossanaire artfully mines the rich tradition of bossa nova popularized  by Jobim, Sergio Mendes  and Gilberto/Getz.  Don’t be fooled by the title of their latest release. It is not a seasonal/Christmas album.  It is a wonderfully conceived and performed set of original material that will transport you to the warmth, sun and sand of whatever beach fantasy you might...

Bossa Renova Trio – Samba Preludio

Samba Prelúdio” is a transatlantic song cycle that merges ‘Lieder’ in the European classical tradition with repertoire from Brazil that is or has become ‘classic’. All arrangements have been tailored to the multicultural musical origins of bossarenova trio’s members: the timelessly beautiful voice of Paula Morelenbaum, the warm trumpet-playing and grooving vocal percussion by Joo Kraus, and the electronically coloured grand piano by Ralf Schmid. “Melodia Sentimentale” by Brazil’s classical composer Heitor Villa-Lobos opens up the album with the trio’s ‘signature sound’: Paula Morelenbaum’s melancholic voice line floats over a delicate piano accompaniment enhanced by pulsating electronics. Joo Kraus supports with beatbox elements and a lyrical solo on morphed trumpet. The second song is a true premiere: “Prelude op. 28 No. 4” by Frédéric Chopin and “Insensatez” by Antonio Carlos Jobim have often been played in conjunction with each other to emphasize their obvious relationship. In Ralf Schmid’s sophisticated arrangement these two songs are performed simultaneously: Voice, trumpet and piano travel between Chopin’s and Jobim’s textures, bringing music traditions from Europe and Brazil together in one song. In the polyphonic Baden Powell composition “Samba em Prelúdio” the music becomes more and more beat-oriented. The urban-electro-coloured sound of “Samba da minha Terra” and the Jobim classic “O morro não tem vez” is achieved via samba percussion (by guest percussionist Marcelo Costa), John Cage-like effects inside Ralf Schmid’s piano, and a driving rap by Joo Kraus. “Ständchen” by Franz Schubert and the last track on the album, “Clara/Im wunderschönen Monat Mai” by Robert Schumann, are sung in Portuguese. The lyrics were written exclusively for Paula Morelenbaum by Artur Nestrovski, a native Brazilian who states: “The lyrics in Portuguese are closely aligned to the original version in German, but recreated in the manner of Brazilian songs, always very close to everyday speech.” After the Brazilian standard “Samba de verão” displaying Joo Kraus’s...

Symphony In Bossa By Minas

Philadelphia-based husband and wife duo Minas, comprised of guitarist/vocalist/composer Orlando Haddad and pianist/vocalist/composer Patricia King, have performed together over the past three decades in a variety of formats ranging from duo to ensemble to orchestra and big band. Haddad and King have combined their Brazilian and American roots to create a sound that merges north and south with big band jazz and Brazilian bossa nova – the result is an album 10 years in the making: Symphony in Bossa. This ambitious album serves as a monumental achievement for the Brazilian culture that they have dedicated their lives to preserving and spreading. The music includes fresh takes on old classics such as “The Girl from Ipanema,” “Quiet Nights,” “Triste,” “Waters of March,” and introduces three Minas originals, “Sinal Verde,” “Amazonia,” and “Only the Moon and the Stars.” Symphony in Bossa features more than 60 musicians, including The Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, conducted by trumpeter Terell Stafford. The album is augmented by a string section and many guest artists, including Brazilians Leonardo Lucini (bass), Adriano Santos (drums), Zé Maurício (percussion), and Philadelphia’s own Larry McKenna (saxophone), John Swana (trumpet) and Tony Salicandro (flute). Orchestral arrangements were written by the late Philadelphia arranger and University of the Arts professor Bill Zaccagni (Bobby Ridell, Patti LaBelle), specifically for Minas. In 2004, Haddad & King began a collaboration with Zaccagni to create a large-scale work written specially for Minas, incorporating original compositions with traditional Brazilian repertoire and enhanced by big band and strings. “It is our hope that Symphony in Bossa expands the unique marriage of American big band jazz and Brazilian bossa nova into new musical realms,” states Haddad and King. The album is dedicated in memory of Zaccagni, who passed away in 2007, leaving Minas with the extraordinary gift of this music. “It represents some of his best writing,” comments Haddad and...

Made In Brazil – Elaine Elias

It has been almost 35 years since pianist/singer/songwriter Eliane Elias moved from her homeland in Brazil to New York City She quickly began making waves as the pianist in the jazz fusion powerhouse band Steps Ahead, which included the late, great tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker. After a joint album with Randy Brecker, she began recording solo albums in the mid 80s and has been a prolific recording artist ever since. Most of her albums are on the Blue Note label, but she recently moved over to Concord. As the title suggests, she went back to her roots and recorded this album in her hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil. While she took along her husband, bassist Marc Johnson (who has been on most of her albums), she hired some top Brazilian musicians for the session. Johnson plays bass on half of the songs, while Marcelo Mariano plays electric bass on the others. Also on the album is the multi-Grammy winning Christian vocal group Take 6, appearing for only one track, and their lead vocalist Mark Kibble sings on two others. Brazilian R&B star Ed Motta is on another. Elias and her singer/pianist/daughter Amanda team up for a duet on “Some Enchanted Night,” and she pairs up with Marc Johnson for a duet on “A Sorte do Amor.” Seven of the 12 cuts include orchestral arrangements which were later overdubbed at Abbey Road Studios, performed by members if the London Symphonic Orchestra. But they are perfectly done and never detract from the music – note how things cook along just nicely over the strings on “Voce.” From the opening moments of “Brasil,” a famous Brazilian ‘anthem’ from 1939, to the closing moments of “No Tabuleiro da Baiana,” we are all treated to a top shelf program of infectious music from Brazil, much of it permeated with a definite sexiness the likes...

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