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The origin of the phrase Bossa Nova is as complex as the Brazilian culture from which the music sprung in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Nominally translated into "Our New Thing," Bossa Nova was developed by Brazilian composers Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes and Joao Gilberto, and is characterized by a samba rhythm with its emphasis on the first beat. Harmonically, Bossa Nova is similar to jazz in the use of the seventh, ninth and extending chords. The critical mass between Bossa Nova and jazz occurred on Getz/Gilberto (Verve, 1964), uniting Jobim, Gilberto and Stan Getz who, with Charlie Byrd, was the American ambassador for Bossa Nova. Since that time, Bossa Nova has fragranced the air like Jobim's cigarette on the cover of Stone Flower (CTI, 1970).
Bossa Nova versus jazz reaches another critical mass with Diana Krall's Quiet Nights. And what a long way Krall has come since "Peel Me a Grape." Couched in pop literary terms, the Diana Krall of the 1990s compares with that of the 2000s as Stephanie Meyer's Twilight compares with Ann Rice's Interview with a Vampire. There is nothing coy about Quiet Nights. This is Krall in full maturity sending husband Elvis Costello an audio love note... and what a love note it is. If music were a season, then Bossa Nova would be late summerwarm and humid; languid and lazy.
Krall's Bossa recital contains both Bossa classics ("The Boy from Ipanema," "Este Seu Olhar" and the Bacharach/David classic "Walk on By") and jazz classics cast in Bossa bronze ("Too Marvelous For Words," "I've Grown Accustomed to His Face," "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry" and "Everytime We Say Goodbye"). All are given a breezy treatment by Krall's quintet with strings. Krall, as a vocal performer, is placed front and center with little to draw one's attention from her. Krall's voice is breathy and spare, as is her piano playing. Sexy is not the adjective to describe this recording. A word deeper and more dense, where the physical and spiritual mingle, is necessary; a word not yet invented.
Track Listing: Where Or When; Too Marvelous For Words; I've Grown Accustomed To His
Face; The Boy From Ipanema; Walk On By; You're My Thrill; Este Seu
Olhar; So Nice; Quiet Nights; Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry;
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart; Everytime We Say Goodbye.
Personnel: Diana Krall: piano, vocals; Anthony Wilson: guitar; John Clayton:
bass; Jeff Hamilton: drums; Paulinho Da Costa: percussion.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.