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Slide Hampton Plays the Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim came out in 2002, but like many indie releases, it continues to be "discovered through chance and good fortune. I stumbled upon it after a series of happy coincidences, and as a confessed Jobimaniac, I was delighted to find a fresh approach to the material I know so well.
The novelty is due to Slide Hampton's fluid, swinging arrangements and the prominence of his wonderful trombone, not a common instrument in most Jobim interpretations. Hampton, the musical director of the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band and a 2005 NEA Jazz Master, jazzifies Jobim with subtle differences in pulse, texture, and musical vocabulary (such as quotes, trades, and endings). The result is even more impressive since the band assembled by Hampton and producer John Lee features some of the busiest first-call Brazilian musicians in New York, all of whom hold this music firmly in their DNA: Helio Alves, Claudio Roditi, Duduka da Fonseca, and Maucha Adnet.
Adnet is a terrific singer with a sensuous, smoky voice that (to these ears) has never been recorded adequately until now; at last, her vocals are fully as nuanced on disc as they are live. Adnet, who sang with Jobim for ten years, describes this music as Jobim with "more movement, more jazz. I love the way Slide used the melodic lines without repeating or forcing it. The essential aspects of the music are always there, but he's added these beautiful harmonic elements. Exactly.
The Jobim fan will delight in this CD, which contains twelve of his most beloved songs; a meditative version of Dori Caymmi's beautiful "O Cantador ends the set without breaking the mood. Well-paced and recorded with clarity and warmth, Slide Plays Jobim is a real find, and highly recommended.
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.