After his untimely death in 1994, there was a predictable flurry of Antonio Carlos Jobim tribute recordings. Before his passing, however, songs of the bossa nova legend persisted as some of the most played in the world since the '60s. Few songwriters can match the harmonic sophistication of Jobim tunes, or the simple beauty of his melodies. Fellow Brazilian pianist Manfredo Fest has worked in the bossa nova field since its heyday 40 years ago and remains one of Jobim's most faithful interpreters. Predictably, Just Jobim includes the standards which the maestro is known for, such as "Wave" and "Aguas de Maráo" (Waters of March) but includes the lesser known works, such as "Amparo," and "Luisa."
Manfredo Fest's piano playing is deeply Brazilian-no matter how furious the tempo, or lightening-fast the run, there is a lightness to the swing pervasive in the music of his homeland. On Just Jobim, Fest is backed by three bossa nova experts; percussionist Cyro Baptista, bassist David Finck, and drummer Steve Davis. Sticking close to the melodies, Fest and his sidemen pay one of the better tributes to the man whose role was central in making Brazillian music an international phenomenon.