Antonio Carlos Jobim

Antonio Carlos Jobim

Even if they can’t name him right away as the composer, just about everybody knows some of the bossa nova music of Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim. His dozens of beautiful melodies have become part of the standard song repertoire throughout the world.

Tom Jobim, as he was known familiarly, was born in l927 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and died in l994. As he liked to tell it, he was just another middle-class Carioca "beach boy" hanging out in the bars and coffeehouses along the white sand of Copacabana and Ipanema until the day a peddler, selling roses, stopped before him one afternoon.

Tom Jobim soon began to immerse himself in a serious way in his first love, music, and he never did get around to becoming an architect as he had planned. So many kinds of music were popular in Brazil when he was a young man in the 1940s, including the delicate harmonies of the French impressionists and American jazz by visiting masters. Jobim absorbed them all, above all the music of his native land — the fast and fiery Afro-Brazilian sambas and the languid, Moorish-tinged ballads of the Portuguese settlers.

Like his fellow Brazilian musicians João Gilberto, Luiz Bonfá, and poet–lyricist Vinícius de Moraes, among others, Jobim ingeniously combined elements of all these styles into a fresh new sound. He had his first big international hit with "Desafinado," recorded by tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist Charlie Byrd in 1962. Almost immediately there was another album. Although it was called Getz/Gilberto, it was Tom Jobim’s creations that made musical history, above all the classic version of "The Girl From Ipanema" featuring Getz, guitarist–singer João Gilberto, and, as a last-minute addition, Gilberto’s wife, Astrud, on vocals. The entire album is stocked with superb Jobim songs, marvelously arranged.

Jobim was now an international star, and many albums followed. He went on to explore Franco-Brazilian impressionist textures for orchestra — often including a jazz-based rhythm section — working with masterful arrangers, such as his fellow Brazilian Eumir Deodato on the l970 album Tide. Jobim continued making superb music to the end of his life.

Excerpted from:

Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Finest Hour

 

Linda Dahl

February 2000


This 1995 tribute to the late Brazilian bossa nova master draws from the cream of the Verve/Polygram jazz catalog. Saxophonist Stan Getz, who introduced the sublimely sensual bossa nova to North American audiences in the early '60s, is joined by vocalist João Gilberto on the well-known title track and by guitarist Luiz Bonfa on the exquisite "O Morro Nao Tem Vez." Sarah Vaughan ("Corcovado"), Billy Eckstine ("Felicidade"), Wes Montgomery ("How Insensitive"), and Oscar Peterson ("Wave") also turn in classic performances from the '60s. Jobim himself offers guitar and piano accompaniment on several tracks and duets with Brazilian vocalist Elis Regina on "Aguas de Marco." Although subsequent generations of lame lounge singers have robbed bossa nova of its original mystique, in its pure form, this music is unsurpassed in conveying an intimately romantic mood with carefree sophistication. --Rick Mitchell
Antonio Carlos Jobim is among the few 20th century musicians credited with inventing a musical genre: the sensual, spiritual bossa nova marrying samba rhythm to jazz improvisation. Jobim's distinctive guitar and introspective lyrics created one of the 1960s signature sounds, inspiring a generation of jazz and pop singers and, for better or worse, influencing today's dominant "smooth jazz" radio format.
"The Girl From Ipanema," released shortly after Jobim's death, is a complete tribute album in that jazz's finest performers vocally and instrumentally hug Jobim's fragile, intricate melodies. Stan Getz helped Jobim bring bossa nova to America; his duets on "Girl From Ipanema" and "One Note Samba" are two signature Sixties' jazz pieces.
But after hearing Frank Sinatra's collaborations with Jobim on "Dindi," "Corcovado," and "How Insensitive" (all on their classic 1967 album), these versions by Astrud Gilberto, Sarah Vaughn and even virtuoso guitarist Wes Montgomery compare poorly. Yet Shirley Horn's spare reading of "Once I Loved" (the newest track, from 1988) is suitably sun-kissed and sanguine after seven minutes. Ella Fitzgerald's sprightly "Desafinado" bests the Ray Charles Singers' charted version.

"The Girl From Ipanema" gently introduces fans of other jazz genres to the heart of this master singer, instrumentalist, and songwriter. But also check out Ella Fitzgerals's complete Jobim tribute (on Pablo Records) from 1980, Frank Sinatra's collaborations with Jobim on Reprise and, by all means, the original classic Getz/Gilberto debut from 1964.

This is one great CD. Not only are the songs wonderful, but the liner notes are nice, the simplistic and colorful cover art is lovely, and the CD itself has an interesting look. For listeners like me, who love Jobim's music but prefer the more popular ones, and usually like covers more often than the originals, this is for you.
It starts off with the title track, that ever-popular standard, "The Girl from Ipanema." It is sung first in Portugese (so intriguing) and then the easy, effortless voice of Astrud Gilberto breezes in with the English lyrics. Before the song is over, you'll hear a nice piano version of the tune, preceded by legendary tenor sax player Stan Getz's beautiful. (I love the part where he starts and stops repeatedly.) It's easy to see why this recording became a classic.

Second is one of the disc's best, jazz diva Sarah Vaughan's glossy version of "Corcovado," or "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars," as the English one goes. This is the without a doubt the most beautiful recording I've ever heard. The arrangement could not be better, and the same goes for Vaughan's voice. The whole thing comes off with a very relaxed, daydream feel to it. Listen closely to the lyrics; they put such vivid pictures in one's mind, yet are such simple words. It's so very romantic, and is the best song on the CD to put on if you just want to lay back and forget your troubles along with the whole world. If you just let yourself melt into the music, let it envelop you, it really does make all frustrations slip away from you. Jobim's music, when done properly, can do that.

Some will go wither way on Billy Eckstine's "Felicidade," but I like it. Once the opening (with the shouting and the Eckstine's voice echoing) is over, a steady and infectious guitar rhythm takes over, and the listener is treated to Eckstine's rich, deep voice as it swoops through the notes.

Next up is a song that has an effect much like that of the very relaxing Track 2, an intimate and very sexy arrangement of "Favela" (which I believe is, interestingly, the Portugese word for a small hovel). (There is, by the way, a little-Known English version called "Somewhere in the Hills." It can be found on the Ella Fitzgerald CD 'Ella Abraca Jobim.' Fitzgerald also appears on this CD.) Sounding much more like a late-night mood-enhancer than usual, the risk definitely pays off, creating a track that slowly and rather quietly sizzles from start to finish. The beat (and rhythm from Jobim's guitar) pulls you in, and you never want to let the song go. Jobim turns in a lovely solo, and always-great bassist Joe Mondragon, although he has a very good solo, is owed much credit for the quality of the song and subtly makes his presence known through the entire track. But nontheless, it's Getz and his steamy sax that dominates here. Laid-back and cool, his playing is so relaxed and effortless (much like Gilberto's voice) that it seems to become one with the rhythm. It doesn't even sound like he's trying at all, just swimming along with the melody. But that doesn't mean that he sounds lazy; each note is more intriguing than the last. After the solos in the middle of the song, at about 4:20, the beat picks up and Getz roars back in full-force, sometimes crooning, sometimes wailing, sometimes growling, but never jarring the mood or throwing the feeling, sailing jazzily toward the end. This part, between the bass solo and the reprise of the melody, is musical gold. After this incredible improvisation segment, he slips flawlessly back into the tune at a hushed, almost whispered tone, easing the listener into an even deeper calm before the song unfortunately fades out...

Track 5 abruptly begins with the voices of Gilberto and Jobim and a light but catchy bossa beat that works its way into your blood and makes you want to run out to Arthur Murray and get lessons. Gilberto sings the soft melody and then begins the chorus: "Agua de beber, agua de beber camara..." before she and Jobim launch into the jazzy second chorus. I love this song, too, and All Jarreau does a dynamic version on it "Best of..." CD (also worth buying!).

"So Danco Samba," or "Jazz Samba" as lots of Americans know it, is up next with the tune being carried by Leo Wright on flute. The liner notes say that Jobim is on piano, but I wonder if that's true, who's playing guitar? Why wouldn't he be? Oh, well. The piano solo is very nice anyway. Ella Fitzgerald's dynamic live cover of this song from a French concert can be found on the 10-star 'First Lady of Song' boxed set, or on the two-CD 'Ella & Duke At The Cote D'Azur,' which has a few good Ella tunes but not much else worth hearing. A few other covers of this song by Ella can be found on other CDs.

Wes Montgomery on "How Insensitive" is a quiet standout. It is very beautiful (I keep using that word, but it's the only way to describe this whole disc) and somewhat jazzy, and definitely deserves a listen.

Toward this end of the CD are the few tracks that do not sit well with me. I am not fond of Shirley Horn's "Once I Loved." She has a nice voice, and I hear that she is a very good singer, but this recording isn't pleasant to me. It just seems to wander and drag, aimlessly and unsure, and Horn sounds quite bored. And all this for six minutes and fifty-eight seconds (six seconds longer than "Favela").

A serious rebound is made with the "One Note Samba," featuring Charlie Byrd and Getz, in his third and final appearance here. Three is a lot for a CD that is a mixture of different artists doing Jobim's work, but it shows just how big a hand Stan "the Man" had in the bossa-nova explosion in the '60s. "Samba" is very jazzy, especially on Getz's part. Here he is much more jazzy-bluesy than on the other tracks. A very good "One Note" is on Dizzy Gillespie's "Compact Jazz" CD.

"Meditation" is another that doesn't tickle my fancy. It seems to amble like "Once."

The following track again saves the day, this time in the form of "First Lady of Song" Ella Fitzgerald singing a very bossa-nova sounding "Desafinado." While she is my favorite singer, this is not my favorite recording of hers. However, it is a good recording, and she sounds like she's having a lot of fun with it.

"Dindi," one of my least favorite Jobim compositions, bores me. Thank God they seemed to stagger all of my dislikes so that there were favorites between them.

"Wave," one of Jobim's best (check out Frank Sinatra's classic rendition on the fantastic 2-CD set 'The Very Best of Frank Sinatra!' Love it!), is handled nicely here by great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. Cool arrangement and improvisation. (Ella Fitzgerald also does a fascinating take on this song on the expensive, but very much worth mortgaging your house for, 4-CD set 'Ella: The Concert Years.')

"Waters of March," for a long time, was the fourth and last of the tracks that I did not like. It is, however, growing on me. Upon listening to it while reviewing it here, I realize that the melody is very cute, and Jobim and Elis Regina are having a lot of fun dueting here, especially toward the end, when Regina has trouble stifling her laughter. You can hear the smile on her face around this part, and she gets a little goofy (probably to make Jobim laugh). It's actually kind of fun.

Track 15 and I go back some distance before I bought this CD, about a year and a half back. I first heard it (all ten minutes and eighteen seconds of it) as the last track on the highly-recommended and very Latinesque Dizzy Gillespie volume of the 'Compact Jazz' series. (Buy it--if you like this track, you won't be sorry!) It begins relaxingly (and continues that way), with sounds of a beach with the tide coming in. The melody soon comes in, played by the very cool sax of Leo Wright (floutist on Track 6, "So Danco Samba"). Dizzy is not far behind, though, and is soon leading the song. The great Lalo Schifrin offers up a jazzy piano solo, hitting all the right notes. Dizzy comes in with a good solo, followed by Wright's extremely rousing, wailing, somewhat contemporary jazz-sounding solo, then going back to Schifrin for a second solo that starts off calm but then becomes wild and stomping, with Lalo hitting the keys so hard that his fingers were surely red. This prededes a nice guitar solo. The melody is then reprised, leading the song into a crashing finish.

Jobim 1940

 

This CD is one of the best if you just want to take it easy for a while. It's worth the price just for Vaughan and "Quiet Nights," Getz's "Favela," and "No More Blues." It's by far the best Jobim CD, compilation or not, that I've ever heard, and you're sure to love it if you love jazz or bossa. Even if not, try it, you'll like at least a few tracks!

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Introspection

Spotlight | Maze

  1. play Maze — 03 Feel That You're Feelin'
  2. play Maze — 04 Somebody Else's Arms
  3. play Maze — 04 Southern Girl
  4. play Maze — Can't Get Over You
  5. play Maze — Golden Time Of Day
  6. play Norman Brown — Night Drive
  7. play Norman Brown — Feeling
  8. play Norman Brown — Still
  9. play Miles Davis — miles 1
  10. play miles 2
  11. play miles 3
  12. play miles 4
  13. play miles 5
  14. play Marvin Gaye — I Met A Little Girl
  15. play Santana — 01 Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
  16. play Santana — 02 Black Magic Woman-Gypsy Queen
  17. play Mongo — 02. Afro Blue



The history of the Butlers/Raw Soul is dense, but for all of us music nerds, that's normal. It is not totally clear what year the Butlers actually formed but they released their first single in 1963 on Liberty Records. That single was "She Tried To Kiss Me" and another single followed on Guyden entitled "Lovable Girl." After the Guyden single the Butlers took a break not recording another record until the single "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" was released on the Phila label in 1966. The group also backed Charles Earland and Jean Wells on one Phila single ("I Know She Loves Me"). 


As you might be noticing, the Butlers were doing a fair amount of recording but not achieving much success. The group's recordings sold regionally but never had the promotion to make an impact on the national scene. After the single with Phila, the Butlers moved to the Fairmount label (part of the Cameo-Parkway family) and released a handful of singles, some being reissued singles of the past. The Butlers were with Fairmount for 1966-67 and then moved to Sassy Records. Sassy released the group's greatest single (in my opinion) "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" b/w "If That's What You Wanted." A copy of that 45 sold for just under $500 last summer on eBay. Even though that isn't that much in the world of record collecting--it's still a hefty sum. The Butlers released another single on Sassy ("She's Gone" b/w "Love Is Good") that appears to be even 
harder to come by then the "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" single.

 

The true history become a bit blurred here as the AMG biography states that the Butlers last record was released on C.R.S. in 1974 (". However, between 1971 and that single, Frankie Beverly formed a group called Raw Soul and released a number of singles. Some of the songs recorded by Beverly during this period are "While I'm Alone," "Open Up Your Heart," (both on the Gregor label) and "Color Blind." "Color Blind" was released by the Eldorado label and rerecorded by Maze. Beverly's big break came when Marvin Gaye asked Raw Soul to back him on a tour. Gaye helped Beverly/Raw Soul get a contract at Capitol. Beverly decided to take the group in a different direction, a name change occurred, and Maze was created. 

The above isn't the most complete history of Beverly but hopefully someone will know a way to get in touch with the man or his management because a comprehensive pre-Maze history needs to be done on Frankie Beverly (his real name is Howard, by the way). Below you'll find every Frankie Beverly (pre-Maze) song available to me right now ("Color Blind" will be up soon). 

If you have a song that is not included below, shoot it over to funkinsoulman (at) yahoo.com and it will go up in the next Frankie Beverly post (later this week--highlighting Maze). Also, if you have any more information please share your knowledge. The Butlers material has been comp-ed sporadically (usually imports) but the entire Maze catalog has been reissued and is available. 

Enjoy.  "She Kissed Me" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967) 
 
 "I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" (not sure which label or year) "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" (Phila, 1966) "Because Of My Heart" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
   
 "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" (Sassy, 1967)
   
 "If That's What You Wanted" (Sassy, 1967)
 



Frankie Beverly is one of those cats that has lasting power. He started in the music business doing a tour with doo wop group the Silhouettes and then formed his own group called the Blenders. The Blenders never recorded a single, Beverly wouldn't appear on wax until forming the Butlers a few years later. Along with Beverly, the Butlers included Jack "Sonny" Nicholson, Joe Collins, John Fitch, and Talmadge Conway.

Beverly would later enjoy great success fronting Maze and Conway would become a
well-known penning Double Exposure's
"Ten Percent" and the Intruders' "Memories Are Here To Stay." 
 While Maze is a phenomenal group, Beverly's work before that group will always stand out as his best (imo).

The Butlers produced tunes that most Northern Soul fans would kill for and Raw Soul gave the funksters something to pursue. If, by chance, you know of a way to get in touch with Frankie Beverly or his management, please drop me an e-mail. It would be absolutely great to do an interview with him about his pre-Maze work. He's still playing out, most recently doing a New Year's Eve show in Atlanta.
:: Funkinsoulman ::

Power...Through Simplicity ♪♫♪

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