Behind Jobim is a five-track EP from guitarist Marcel Camargo, who leads a large ensemble complete with strings, winds and brass. He calls it The Brazil You Never Heard, and it features vocalist Gretchen Parlato. This release is the first in what is intended as an ongoing series aimed at celebrating music from around the world through a Brazilian lens, as focused by Camargo’s arrangements. The project highlights the connections between the music defined as Brazilian and its many varied influences.
When you think of Brazilian music, the one name that most readily comes to mind is Antonio Carlos Jobim. So what better place to start than with his music and the voices that impacted his work.
The EP opens with two influential pieces by major Brazilian voices: “Lamentos do Morro,” a solo guitar composition orchestrated for the larger ensemble and “Lamento,” a modernization of the classic Choro. As the liner notes explain, Camargo uses a string quartet arrangement of Frederic Chopin’s Prelude No. 4 in E Minor as an introduction to Jobim’s “Insensatez,” which was “clearly based” on it. Indeed, Carmago say he thought it would be “fun” to listen to them together, and with Parlato doing the “Insensatez” vocal, not only is it fun, it is instructive as well.
The Julie Styne-Sammy Cahn classic “I Fall in Love Too Easily” is included because of Jobim’s love of jazz. As to why Camargo chose this particular tune as opposed to any one of hundreds of others, he explains that it was included on Chet Baker Sings, an album very influential on the bossa nova crowd. Here it is treated as a duet between Parlato’s voice and Camargo’s guitar. He also joins her for a vocal duet on the EP’s final piece “Imagina,” thought to be Jobim’s earliest work.
Behind Jobim is an EP based on a truly interesting concept. It showcases some top flight musical talent working on intriguing arrangements of material not always front and center on a typical jazz release. If it has a flaw, five tracks merely whet the appetite. Less, in this case, is certainly not more. Indeed it is not nearly enough.
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