Sao Paulo and Rio are a dream come true for a singing guitarist. There is an understanding of the complexities of accompaniment, a knowledge that understated meditative singing can be more emotional and transcendent than any of the pyrotechnics present in most of today’s popular American music, singer/guitarist John Pizzarelli says in the liner notes of his new album, Bossa Nova
The new album celebrates the spirit of Brazil and introduces a new generation to the music and the sound of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto.
Brazilian vocalist and guitarist João Gilberto, bossa nova’s premier interpreter, helped launch a musical revolution in the 1950s by harnessing the gentle rhythms and soft, intimate lyrics of samba. On Bossa Nova
, Pizzarelli honors Gilberto’s spirit and subtly expands on his innovations.
Pizzarelli’s fifth Telarc disc delivers a wide variety of tracks ranging from brash to introverted, and includes not only Brazilian standards, but also recently composed music. Bossa Nova overflows with highlights: five classic Antonio Carlos Jobim songs, including One Note Samba
, The Girl from Ipanema
, Waters of March
, Só Danço Samba
; a jaunty adaptation of Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm
; a pair of Pizzarelli originals, Francesca
and Soares Samba
; and fresh interpretations of James Taylor’s top 40 hit Your Smiling Face
and Broadway songwriter Stephen Sondheim’s I Remember
A native of Patterson, New Jersey, John Pizzarelli has been playing guitar since age six, following in the tradition of his father, jazz guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli. Hanging out with his dad, the young Pizzarelli was exposed to all the great music of the era. At age 20, John began his professional career alongside his famous father. He later ventured out on his own, forming the John Pizzarelli Trio in 1992.
In October 2003, Pizzarelli led a 40-piece orchestra at New York’s Radio City Music Hall in a live theatrical stage production of Sinatra: His Voice, His World, His Way
One of the beautiful things about bossa nova is that it fits perfectly into the scheme of American jazz, as well as the traditional leanings of Brazilian samba. Pizzarelli gives it a classic treatment, even when adapting Gershwin’s Fascinatin’ Rhythm, Taylor’s Your Smiling Face
and Pizzarelli’s own compositions.
All are done with the breezy, charming flair that epitomizes bossa nova.
Appropriately, Pizzarelli calls Bossa Nova
"a true marriage of American and Brazilian music as well as American and Brazilian musicians."
Like so many others before him, Pizzarelli honors Jobim and Gilberto while putting his own stamp on their music.