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Jobim has been described as the Gershwin of Brazilian music, which is an apt title for a man who contributed so many original songs to the jazz repertoire, adding a few standards along the way. Those who were inspired to follow his work after “The Girl From Ipanema” may have picked up Wave, his most well-known solo record, but may have overlooked Stone Flower, a markedly better effort. The drippy strings on the former record brought out the quiet romanticism of the melodies, but makes the album sound dated today. Stone Flower marks a fresher approach, using musicians from the CTI stable, but don’t be misled by the personnel into thinking that Jobim has wandered into soul jazz. The quietly sensual melodies and beguiling bossa nova rhythms are as bewitching as ever, with Laws, Carter, and Green added sensual textures in the background. The title track says it all: Jobim on electric piano, heavily reverbed as if it was recorded underwater, with violin and trombone providing a warm tropical breeze overhead. No one could write bossa nova tunes as well as Jobim, and the songs on Stone Flower easily rank with his best work. Stone Flower is a fantastic record of quiet intensity.
Track Listing: Tereza My Love; Children's Games; Choro; Brazil; Stone Flower; Amparo; Andorinha; God and the Devil In The Land of the Sun; Sabia; Brazil (alternate take).
Personnel: Antonio Carlos Jobim-guitar, piano, and vocals; Eumir Deodato-guitar; Joe Farrell-soprano sax; Hubert Laws-flute; Urbie Green-trombone; Ron Carter-bass; Airto Moreira-percussion; Everaldo Ferriera-percussion; Joao Palm-percussion, drums; Harry Lookofsky-violin.
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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