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Bossa nova salute pays fitting tribute to Jobim’s catalog
Tuesday, 05 December 2017 00:31
"Tall and tan and young and lovely,
The girl from Ipanema goes walking and
When she passes, each one she passes goes ‘ah’
“When she walks, she’s like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gentle that
When she passes, each one she passes goes ‘ah’
“Oh, but I watch her so sadly
How can I tell her, ‘I love you?’
Yes, I would give my heart gladly
But each day, when she walks to the sea,
She looks straight ahead, not at me.....”
— “The Girl From Ipanema”


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BLACK MOUNTAIN — Song enterpreter and entertainer extraordinaire Paula Hanke and a cast of top area jazz musicians performed a stellar salute to the incomparable bossa nova musical catalog of Tom Jobim during a Nov. 17 concert at White Horse nightclub.

The two-set show, which lasted about two hours and drew more than 100 attendees, finished with “Chega de Saudade” — and the audience responded with a standing ovation and calls for an encore.

Predictably, the encore was “The Girl From Ipanema,” a worldwide hit in the mid-1960s that won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. It was written in 1962,  with music by Antonio Carlos “Tom” Jobim and Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes. 

“The Girl From Ipanema” was inspired by  a gorgeous, bikini-clad young girl who would saunter past Jobim and Moraes on her way to and from the beach each day. The duo noticed her from the window of a bar about a block from Ipanema beach, as they were eating, drinking and plotting out songs.

Some analysts have said that the song celebrates the essence of life and the Zen beauty of nature and love. 

Hanke and her bandmates performed an exquisite version of “The Girl From Ipanema” — and the crowd loved it, but their cover stuck largely to the original, including a performance time of 3 minutes (or so).

Given that “The Girl From Ipanema” is the best-known — and biggest-selling — bossa nova song in history, it would have been fitting — and interesting — if Hanke and company stretched it out, performing perhaps a 10-minute version, including some jams, playing it a little faster and a little slower, perhaps louder and then quieter ... and just generally treating it like a treasure worth exploring more deeply. 

However, that is just a small quibble with a show that truly felt — as a pre-show promotion stated, like “a timeless Brazilian musical breeze” drifting through the White Horse.

“In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, a new sound from Brazil became an international sensation,” a concert promotion noted. “Simultaneously cool and passionate, bossa nova (literally ‘new trend’ in Rio slang) blended samba and jazz in a sophisticated, fresh style.

“Antonio Carolos Jobim became its most visible exponent when his ‘The Girl From Ipanema,’ as recorded by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz, became a huge hit. That song, and other Jobim compositions like ‘Agua de Beber,’ ‘Desafinado,’ ‘Corcovado’ and ‘Aguas de Marco (Waters of March)’ have become indispensable jazz standards.”

The beginning words of Jobim’s bossa nova classic “Corcovado” —  “Quiet nights of quiet stars, / quiet chords from my guitar” —  aptly summarize the beauty of the genre’s music and the lyrics.

Hanke performed the aforementioned songs, as well as several other lesser-known Jobim gems — included “Brigas Nunca Mais” and Retrato em Branco e Preto” —  and paid tribute to the vocalists that popularized them, including Gilberto, Elis Regina and Leila Pinheiro.

Hanke’s top-notch band included Michael Jefry Stevens on piano, Frank Southecorvo on tenor sax, Zack Page on bass and Ben Bjorlie on drums.



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