International Release 07/03/12 & U.S. Release 07/17/12
A former editor once cautioned me on "gratuitous self reference" when it came to critical review. While the point is well taken, how can you not be passionate about music that exudes passion from its cultural core. Perhaps the editor struggled with the difference between honesty, personal opinion and perspective as opposed to arbitrary stylistic guidelines. In short; you can not arbitrarily stylize passion and anyone that travels in my cultural inner circle knows Brazilian music and especially the music of Jobim is my musical sweet spot and if you are of the same inclination then In The Spirit Of Jobim is guaranteed to make your musical back leg shake!
Bromberg does a masterful job on five Jobim classics - "One Note Samba," "Wave," "Tristeifinado," "Corcovado" and of course no collection is indeed complete without "The Girl From Ipanema." Bromberg then puts his virtuosity to the test by attempting to capture the musical essence of Jobim. The additional seven tunes are Bromberg's originals but with a delightful riff on the style and flair that has made Antonio Carlos Jobim world renown. While Bromberg is noted as a master of all things bass and rightfully considered a virtuoso among his peers and fans alike, the simplicity and beauty of the melody is never overshadowed but lovingly enhanced by including The Rising Sun Orchestra and several Brazilian masters to pay fitting homage to authenticity but for perhaps the most organic release ever attempted by Bromberg. While the Jobim and Hendrix releases were both previously released in Asian territories, both have been recut, remixed and remastered. For you gear heads this was done in part thanks to Bromberg now using a special Carvin line of guitars and the results simply speak for themselves.
The Jobim classic "One Note Samba" opens the release with a deceptively subtle masterclass in technique, presentation and is but a small window into the soul of Jobim as the groove picks up in intensity. Soul music on steroids. Clearly this is music you feel with your hips and hear with your feet. Infectious percussion allow Bromberg the freedom to stretch out and take Jobim's work on a uniquely personal journey. "Cha Chika Chika Boom" is a Bromberg tune that if it were not for an immense working knowledge of the catalog one would swear it would be a Jobim original. Melodic with an intoxicating rhythmic flair that Bromberg captures perfectly in this setting. The Rising Sun Orchestra gives that bright and breezy sonic back drop to Bromberg's interpretation of "The Girl From Ipanema." Lush, vibrant, and a tune that radiates from the soul. Other luminaries join Bromberg on this release including Alex Acuna, Oscar Castro Neves, and Otmaro Ruiz to name but a few.
I made the opening remarks about a former editor not in an attempt to score points on the snarky meter but to illustrate a point concerning passion that both Bromberg and I seem to be in agreement on. Bromberg stated, "Recording is a musical window to the soul. It's who you are as a person that's coming out. I'm trying to say something musically. The most rewarding thing for me is when people get it, when they feel it. And people respond to what they feel in the heart and soul."
I believe a critic to have or at least should have the same feeling when approaching an artists work, any work. If you have an editor that exudes all the passion of a carrot in favor of a one size fits all your review then you will have a short stay at that gig. In The Spirit Of Jobim is a magnificent transference of the spirit and unbridled joy that can take place when one does something that is indeed their passion. Words such as "amazing" and "awesome" have been played out and their welcome has long been worn out. In The Spirit of Jobim is about passion and a shared musical joy and for this reason alone this release gets 5 huge stars. Virtually flawless from start to finish and from my perspective possibly the finest Brian Bromberg release ever.
Tracks: One Note Samba; Wave; Coastline Drive; Little Tune; Tristefinado; Corcovado; Cha Chika Chika Boom; Isn't It Beautiful; Ray Of Sunshine; Talia; Ellen; The Girl From Ipanema.
Be sure and check out the artist of the month Brian Bromberg for both June and July on my homepage:
Photo via Mack Avenue/Artistry Records Thanks to Raj Naik!