Really, is there anyone who does not like Antonio Carlos Jobim (Tom)? Antonio Adolfo, the pianist, arranger, and producer behind this wonderful recording, seems to have lived in a parallel universe to many of us. He says, and it rings true, at the age of twelve, Jobim's music was "love at first sight" in Brazil. Well, it was love at first sight in New Jersey too, via Stan Getz and "A Garota de Ipanema" ("The Girl from Ipanema"). Getz may have been the vehicle, but the message was Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. Years later, living in Latin America, Jobim seemed to be everywhere to a listener. It was hard to walk into a pretty common restaurant chain and not hear his music. "Wave" was, no less, the melodic identifier for an FM station in Mexico City in the 70s. The Brazilians had done their work and done it well.
Here is mostly Tom Jobim from the 60s, and beautifully done it is too. Hearing his oeuvre together makes a listener realize that Jobim, too, had favorite devices, harmonies, and licks. But somehow they always managed to sound fresh, fetching, and alluring. He drew you into his music by pure sensuality. The fact that sensational musicians were drawn to his work did not hurt much either. And that remains true of this recording. The playing is very impressive.
We get "Ipanema," "Wave," "Felicidade," "Insensitive," "Agua de Beber," and a few less familiar items, including "Amparo," "Inutil Pasagem" and "Estrada do Sol." The players, primarily Brazilian, one assumes, are simply first-rate, as are the arrangements, which are fresh, if familiar. Comparisons are invidious, but Jesse Sadoc on trumpet and flugelhorn is as good as you will hear. Antonio Adolfo, who both produced and arranged the session, is a compelling pianist in this idiom. Danilo Sinna and Marcelo Martins on reeds and flutes surface repeatedly, springlike, to spread beauty everywhere. "Estrada de Sol," features Martins on a gorgeous, evanescent flute solo. When Lula Galvão joins on guitar, the magic is nearly complete, until Adolfo enters once more. Gil Evans of "Quiet Nights" comes to mind to a listener of a certain age, but with far less dissonance.
This is a beautiful, spellbinding recording. If you dig Tom Jobim and Brazilian music from the 60s, how can you miss?