The Mountains, The Sun And The Sea – The Art of Antonio Carlos Jobim
published: 5 /
Format: CD Box
Fantastic five CD compilation from Cherry Red of the early recordings of bossa nova artist and pioneering 50’s composer Carlos Antonio Jobim
The music of Carlos Antonio Jobim is as indispensible to Brazilian culture as songwriter Billy Joel or George Gershwin is to American culture. This prolific composer’s discography imbues much more than the likes of, ‘Girl from Ipanema’ or ‘Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars’; songs which were meticulously translated and made commercially popular around the world.
Featuring a variety of vocalists, instrumentalists, spoken-word artists and recording and arranging ideas, this four disc set and booklet re-imagines Jobim’s timeless classics. If you are already a fan of these Brazilian melodies and arranging ideas, you’ll love seeing these varied tracks in one convenient place.
If you’re unfamiliar, you’re in for a treat. Jobim’s touching ballads feature brilliant chord changes and sensitive topics. He was never afraid to cross-bleed genres, so there’s a lot of variety in these works; some sound like operatic arias, while others are toe-tapping delights, celebrations of undying love or genuinely reminiscent of the Carnaval tradition. One track even features bird songs, reflecting the fact that Jobim was an avid naturalist.
The following is a brief review of disc highlights:
Lucio Alves and Fick Farney collaborate here on ‘Teresa da Praia’, taking vocal turns on the verse, but melding warm salutations on the chorus. The interludes are rife with accordion and guitar. The ritardando ushers in a brief, but penetrating blast of horns.
‘The Sinfonia do Rio de Janiero’ is a fifteen-plus minute celebratory piece. The motif allows the other segments to soar overhead. It’s a feast of rhythm and male-female chemistry which is ear-marked with sweltering melodies and bright call and response.
On the following, Jobim/Blanco piece, ‘Arpoador,’ the grace of acoustic piano and electric guitar are drawn against high-pitched accordion, with each instrument revealing vibrant colour.
Their ‘Noites do Rio’ (‘Rio Nights’) is a distinctive rendering of a classic, circling back and forth on its lively axis. ‘O Samba De Amanha’ (‘Tomorrow’s Samba’) is also melodious. ‘Descendo O Morro’ (‘Descending the Hill’) foreshadows Jobim’s expressionist dance music.
Nora Ney’s expressive vocals on ‘O Que Vai Ser De Mim’ are breathtaking, as is the slow--burning guitar solo and embellished flute.
Doris Monteiro follows with ‘Se E Por Falta de Adeus’, which is memorable for its demonstrative phrasing and tenderness.
Singer Claudia Moreno’s ‘So Saudade’ is a tear-stained wonder. Norma Suely’s performance is treated with a spare accompaniment, allowing her vocals to soar. Sonia Dutre’s ‘E Preciso Dizer a Desu’ is the perfect vehicle for her smoky voice.
Carlos Jose’s ‘Por Toda Minha Vida’ features a contrapuntal introduction which enhances his operatic style. Immaculate harmonies and a sprinkle of horns help the exquisitely produced ‘Chega de Saudade’ shine.
Neusa Maria is a lithe soprano. Her ‘Meditacao’ is offset by the precision of closely-knit, rapidly moving guitar shapes.
Ribeiro and Bonfa’s ‘Es Que Cendo Voce’ comes alive with a soul-stirring vibrato and plaintive guitar. The instrumental riff on Jorginho’s . ‘Para Nao Sofrer’ works exceedingly well with flute, organ and piano.
Opening with Jobim/Vincius ‘Overture,’ which is more than six-minutes of plush and intoxicating orchestration. ‘Monologo de Orfei’ serves as the oral setting for Orpheus.
On ‘Se Todos Fossem Iguais a Voce,’ the descending lines preface popular Jobim orchestral pieces.
With splendid backing vocals and alluring lead vocals, ‘Mulher Sempre Mulher’ becomes a touching lovesong, along with a short, but effective guitar solo. ‘Eu e Meu Amor’ brings to life the Carnaval spirit with generous percussion and horn.
‘Lamento No Morro,’ with its fitting title, which translates as “cry no more,” wields plenty of reasons to rejoice.
On Elizeth Cardoso’s ‘Chega,’ the addition of male backing vocals adds a new dimension. On ‘Serenata Do Adeus,’ she adds magnificent emotion to this farewell ballad. ‘Otra Vez’ is meant to be a sing-along.
On her ‘Estrada Branca,’ there is a rubato feel. This ballad is done in a spare way, with just piano and vocals, which is all it really needs. The mournful horn adds a wistfulness to ‘Cancao Do Amordemois’.
Santos Menescal’s version of ‘A Felicidade’ is presented with incredible pacing. Santos Bonfa’s ‘Manha De Carnval’ invites “bird song” over the gentle sway of finger-style guitar. His falsetto is captivating and shows his obvious love of the genre on the song that became ‘A Day in the Life of a Fool’ in English. On ‘Samba De Orfeu,’ there are entrancing guitar runs, a proper bassline and a delightful chorus of children.
Agostinho Dos Santo’s ‘A Felicidade’ is spare, with just vocals and piano, but gorgeous. In contrast, Gilbert’s version is upbeat and packed with rhythms. Gilbert’s ‘Manha De Carnaval’ is essentially string-embossed.
On ‘O Nosso Amor’ (‘Our Love’), Gilbert flaunts his effusive storytelling talents, with the subject being true love. There is also a bright chorus and sensational instrumentation. Agostinho Dos Santo’s take on the soaring, melodic ‘Dindi’ is an A-lister.
Joao Gilbert’s version of ‘Chega do Saudade’ creates a sharp excursion into the peppy ‘Lobo Bobo’. ‘Brigas Nunca Mais’ has both a springy horn solo and lush strings.
The syncopated ‘Saudade Fezum Samba’ is a syncopated delight. Gilbert’s ‘Desafinado’ comes with an unexpected slice of blues. On 'Morena Boca De Ouro,’ he sings along with the flute line with great effect.
‘Aos Pes Da Cruz’ is surprisingly short, but incredibly dreamy. ‘E Luxo So’ features a brief, but palpable melodic escalation. Sylvia Telles’s ‘Dindi’ is enhanced by a sweeping harp. Her version of ‘Corcovado’ is tasteful and unforgettable. It is a song about nature: ‘Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars’.
On ‘Samba De Uma Nota’ (‘One Note Samba’), her voice is light as merengue and fully capable of keeping up with the infectious rhythms. On the closer, ‘Sucedeu Assim,’ she tells a haunting, whispered story, which is embedded in organ and gentle beats.
The fourth disc features vocalist Lenita Bruno. On ‘Canta Canta Mais,’ she exhibits an incredible command of her upper range.
A collaboration between Jobim/Vinicius, ‘O Planatto Deserti,’ awakens the synapses with poetic spoken word.
Pery Ribeiro’s ‘Garota de Ipanema’ probably sounds familiar; it morphed into ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ for English-speakers. This is a bouncy, carefree version.
‘Insensatez’ became ‘How Insensitive.’ Alaide Costa’s melodic dips and spine-tingling phrasing make this widely-covered classic unique. It’s fun to hear Costa slng along with the lovely horn.
‘O Morro Nao Tem Vez,’ the instrumental closer, includes a fantastic jazz-blues solo on acoustic piano.
This collection is a wonderful showcase for Antonio Carlos Jobim’s vast works. Some fans may be bothered by the duplication of cover material, but keep in mind that the purpose was probably to show the flexibility of the artist and the composer. That said, the duplicated covers are dissimilar enough to warrant intense interest.
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