Jan 042011
 
Antonio (Tom) Carlos Jobim

Antonio (Tom) Carlos Jobim

Antonio Carlos Jobim (1927 – 1994) was an arranger, a composer, singer, pianist, and guitarist.

In 1964, the album “Getz/Gilberto” launched him into the public in the U.S., and also the world. It was wildly popular, and is definitely a desert island pick.The album includes the song, “Girl From Ipanema” which was a huge hit in the U.S. It has since been recorded hundreds of times, and is considered a Jazz Standard. In this album, the song is sung in both Portuguese and English. Joao Gilberto sings in Portuguese and his wife, Astrud Gilberto,whose native tongue is Portuguese sings in both English and Portuguese. This cut is usually considered the original. The personnel on the album are Stan Getz, saxophone, Joao Gilberto, singer and guitarist, Astrud Gilberto, singer, and Jobim, Guitar, Piano, Voice,  Commposer. This album and song launched the Bossa Nova craze in the U.S., and soon, the rest of the world.

Jobim is known in Brazil by “Tom Jobim”. In 1967, he scored the music for the film Black Orpheus. This film is a love story, but it is also one to see if you need more Carnivál in your life

Jan 042011
 

Marcus Roberts, Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies, Florida State University

Marcus Roberts (1963 – ) was born blind and studied music and piano at the Florida School For the Deaf and Blind, the same school Ray Charles attended. He later was discovered by Wynton Marsalis, and they went on to do a number of collaborative projects. He has recorded many albums, both solo and in other varieties of musical settings.

Most of these pay homage to the great American composers of the past such as Ellington, Gershwin, Monk, Porter, etc. [button]Read More…[button]His recording of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” is unlike any other recording I’ve ever heard of the same piece.

Gershwin wrote the piece for piano and small jazz band. He enlisted Ferde Grofe to orchestrate it, and it is written for full orchestra. Of course, the piano part is fully written out, and most all performances and recordings are of this version. That is, played in the “classical” vein where you do not change the score, you only interpret it. However, Gershwin’s roots were informed by the music of  jazz, pop, and stage. Gershwin’s mission was to write music that would fuze jazz and classical music together.

Unlike these other recordings, Marcus Roberts’ version takes many liberties with the score. He will include his jazz trio (with bass and drums) along with the orchestra. During piano solos, he will take extended flights of fancy, acknowledging the written themes, and extending or modifying them. He ad-libs; The version you’ll hear in the clip below is certainly not a note for note replay of the Robert’s recording. The orchestra has been silent during these interludes, and the cues for them to re-enter are both dramatic and pleasing.

In this video, the expressions you see on Seigii Ozawa’s face are well worth the price of admission.

Marcus Roberts Plays Rhapsody in Blue With Seijii Ozawa

This next part picks up where the first part left off, at the beginning of the E major “pretty part” (that’s a technical term). During his improv, you can see the members of the orchestra and band smiling, probably because it’s not known what he’s going to do next. For example, he quotes an extensive passage of Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”; later, he goes into a quasi stride piano part during part of his solo. The fact that there are quotes and improvisation is not the interesting thing. It’s how well he makes it work, blending in an out of what’s written, or hinting at it.

Marcus Roberts on Wikipedia