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Antonio Carlos Jobim: Live at Montreal Jazz Festival

Imagine yourself on a sandy South American beach: waves lapping against the shore, breeze gently blowing your hair, hot sun on your face. Not the beach-going type, you say? Well, how about Montreal, where the godfather of Brazilian samba, Antonio Carlos Jobim, delivered the next best thing to actually going to Brazil: hearing its music performed by one of its greatest players. Originally taped in 1986 for Canadian television, Jobim at the Montreal Jazz Festival is a great document of the iconic Brazilian singer’s work and trademark style.

Jobim contributed a large body of original songs to the jazz-standard repertoire, and while it’s been said that he preferred working in the studio over performing, you would never have guessed based upon this sophisticated and spot-on performance of many of his classic tunes. The opening “Samba de Uma Nota So” (or “One Note Samba”) is an upbeat, airy tune with Jobim’s brightly clad back-up vocalists shining on perfect harmonies. “Chega de Saudade” shows that Jobim’s modest, emotional vocals are as crisp as ever.

Jobim provides interesting anecdotes between many songs, and his strong ear for sensuous melodies and catchy harmonies shines throughout the performance, including “Falando de Amor,” “Agua de Beber” and “Samba Do Aviao.” The band includes Jacques Morelenbaum, Paulo Jobim and Danilo Caymmi, plus an expanded chorus on a few of the set’s more ambitious tunes. Any fan of Brazilian music would be doing themselves a great disservice by not acquainting themselves with the master Jobim, and this two-hour performance is a great DVD for fans old and new.

Check out John Pizzarelli’s Artist’s Choice playlist on Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Originally Published