Exploring The Brazilian Piano

by Brazil Club - Let The Music Take You There on 01/03/2018 - 12:27 am

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Between Black and White

‘Samba de Uma Nota So’? Hardly. Not when it came to Antonio Carlos Jobim and The Brazilian Piano. The Sounds of Brazil is celebrating his music this month with our ‘January is Jobim’ theme.

The piano was Jobim’s instrument of choice and many of his best-known songs began as doodles on the black and whites that connected his genius to the rest of the grand piano that sat in his home studio. And ‘The One Note Samba’ was no exception; Jobim preferring to let the chords do the harmonic hard work of shifting around that single note to create a deceptively simple melody.

Jobim was already a workaday conductor for Rio’s legendary Odeon Records by the time João Gilberto unveiled the revolutionary new rhythm called Bossa Nova in the late 50’s, but while Bossa Nova may have been invented on a guitar, it was the arrangements from Jobim’s piano that ignited the sound – one that has influenced generations of musicians in Brazil and worldwide ever since.



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Where to begin? It’s easy to trace a direct path from Jobim to Marcos Ariel’s contemporary sound. And even though Philippe Saisse is not Brazilian, his read on ‘Chove Chuva’ resonates with that ‘Jazz Bossa Trio’ sound of Copacabana in the early 60’s. Eliane Elias carries forward Jobim’s classical influences of Debussy and Ravel with her characteristic grace and Cesar Camargo Mariano’s mastery of those 88’s completely reinvents’ ‘Send One Your Love’ so completely that it has brought tears to Stevie Wonder’s eyes.

More? In the 70’s pianist Antonio Adolfo spurred a generational shift away from Bossa to redefine the piano’s role in Brazil by plugging into jazz, Brazilian pop and funk.  Back then, his piano was electric but for this show, we pair him with his vocalist daughter Carol Saboya for a drift away interlude.

And two Luiz’s: Avellar, who cut his teeth with Milton Nascimento’s band in the 80’s before pausing to transform Ivan Lins’ beautifully reflective ‘Meu Pais’ for us this week, and .. Eça, whose 1964 ‘Tristeza De Nos Dois’ was recovered from the Masters vault at Polygram Brasil for you to enjoy. You'll hear it on Friday's Brazil Back2Back segment at 11 am and 2 pm Central, right here on our streaming station.

And you’ll love how the Brazilian piano supports singers like Marisa Monte, Paula Morelenbaum and Tutti Bae’s vocals. Sergio Mendes? Check. Deodato? Yep. José Roberto Bertrami? Ditto. And of course, Jobim... and his home studio piano, featured in a rare recording this week.

Ask any one or all of these about Antonio Carlos Jobim and they’ll remind you of the true value of music: that creative commodity which is lost in the endless avalanche of mp3 downloads all too often these days. You’ll find it again here.



... and a smile.

Finally, a personal note: The Longhorn Bar in Minneapolis was the scene of many misspent weekends during my college years in Minnesota. It was home to many of my earliest jazz friendships; Irv Williams, an old-school tenor player with a great sound, and Roberta Davis, whose talent as a vocalist was of a scope well beyond the Twin Cities. Roberta often performed with a Brazilian pianist named Manfredo Fest who was in a word, exceptional at his craft.

Fest was blind. He played like Oscar Peterson's Brazilian cousin and had a sense of humor to match. A common mid-set joke would go like this: "Mafredo, it's snowing like crazy and its freezing outside! What's a crazy Brazilian pianist like you doing in Minnesota?" The music would halt abruptly and Fest would loudly exclaim: "Minnesota?"

Now it’s time for me turn the ‘keys’ over to you.

Happy Listening,

Scott Adams

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This Week on The Sounds of Brazil : 'The Brazilian Guitar'

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01/07 10:00 am ET Sunday: Wave 105

01/07 12:00 pm CT Sunday: Smooth Jazz Expressions

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