Fred Hersch Plays Jobim – solo piano – Sunnyside Mario Adnet – Jobim Jazz – Adventure Music

by | Jul 7, 2009 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Fred Hersch Plays Jobim – solo piano – Sunnyside SSC 1223 *****:
Mario Adnet – Jobim Jazz – Adventure Music AM1035 2 *****:

(Mario Adnet, guitar; with usually a tentet incl. Andrea Ernest Dias, flute; Marcelo Martins, reeds; Marcos Nimrichter, piano; Romero Lubambo, guitar; Joyce, vocals, and others)

Leading jazz pianist Fred Hersch says he has been mesmerized by Brazilian jazz for many years.  He visited Brazil three times and learned one tune from Stan Getz.  Hersch is a fan of the closely-allied Brazilian folk idiom the chorino, and has composed some himself. He secured a large library of both published and unpublished works from the Jobim estate and selected these ten tunes for his solo piano improvisations. (On Brigas Nunca Mais he is joined by percussionist Jamey Haddad.)

Hersch’s treatments of the tunes are different than what you might hear from a Brazilian pianist, especially as part of an ensemble. His lean more to the contrapuntal, classically-inspired style but are not without plenty of rhythmic life even without the bass and drums. Jobim’s melodic constructions are just gorgeous, and they are full of unexpected harmonic possibilities that Hersch takes full advantage of in his improvisations.  He seems to support in his singling out of this music my opinion that Brazil has the most exciting musical folk culture in the world.

TrackList: Por Toda Minha Vida, O Grande Amor, Luiza, Meditacao, Insensatez, Brigas Nunca Mais, Modinha/Olha Maria, Desafinado, Corcovado.

Brazilian guitarist, composer, arranger and producer Mario Adnet – who now has a partnership with Adventure Music to bring more rich Brazilian music to market in North America – first got thinking about doing an album of Jobim selections inspired by what would have been the composer’s 80th birthday in January 2007. He mentions that Jobim is one of the most recorded and studied composers in the U.S. today. He wanted to focus on brass and woodwind arrangements of these bossa nova tunes in a mostly instrumental setting. Recorded in Rio, the project brought together many top Brazilian musicians in many different assemblies from track to track of the 13 on the CD. There is an emphasis on flutes and guitars, often in multiple, which is music to my ears personally.

Each one of the tracks is given its own page in the note booklet, with photos of some of the performers, a paragraph about the music, and a complete list of all the performers on that number.  The very first tune, for example, is a rare one which Jobim composed together with Luis Bonfa in 1956 – Domingo Sincopado.  There are also very welcome English translations of all the tunes. The most familiar tunes will probably be So Danco Samba (I Dance Samba), which has a nice conversation by the seven-string guitar of Marcello Goncalves with the woodwinds and brass.  Orpheus’s Frevo will immediately sound familiar to all who have loved the film Black Orpheus. The disc is a gem from start to finish.

TrackList: Domingo Sincopado (Syncopated Sunday), Quebra Pedra (Stone Flower), Sue Ann, Tema Jazz (Jazz Theme), Rancho nas Nuvens (Ranch in the Clouds), Surfboard, Meninos Eu Vi (Hey Boys, I Saw It), So Danco Samba (I Dance Samba), Paulo Voo Livre (Paulo’s Free Flight), Valsa do Porto das Caixas (Porto des Caixas Waltz), Frevo de Orfeu (Orpheus’ Frevo), Bate Boca (Shouting), Polo Pony.

 – John Henry

Related Reviews
Logo Pure Pleasure
Logo Apollo's Fire
Logo Crystal Records Sidebar 300 ms
Logo Jazz Detective Deep Digs Animated 01