MUSiC: Wave, Jobim, 1967

Holy guacamole! This arrived this afternoon. Plugging another gap in my current run of Jobim solo album reviews. And boy oh boy, is it good!

I should hasten to note here that our living room stereo is a tiny poxy little Sony ‘all in one’ thing. It is decidedly not the gear of a dedicated or wealthy audiophile! That said, Wave sounds amazing! I think a very large part of the credit for that has to go to Rudy Van Gelder, in whose studio (also his home!) this beautiful album was recorded.*

The album kicks off with the title track, yet another Jobim ditty that’s become a standard. The audio quality – the air and energy in the mix – are astonishing. The balance of well known and more obscure material is great, Triste and Wave accounting for the former; amongst the latter such numbers as The Red Blouse, Mojave and Dialogo, and others. So quite a contrast with his debut.

Jerome Richardson, flute.

One of the ‘lesser’ pieces – by which I mean less famous, not less good – is one of my all time favourites by Jobim, Lamento. I recorded my own version of this many years ago, as part of my Too Much Time jazz/bossa recording project. This and Remember from Tide strike my main nerve, for some reason.

Every now and again Jobim dabbled with an unusual choice of keyboard, and here, on Antigua he plays the keys part on … harpsichord! The glassy tone makes for an interesting contrast with the soft pillowy clouds of flutes, trombones and strings.

Urbie Green, trombone.

The powerful presence of sound on the superbly titled Captain Bacardi is astonishing. The drums in particular project almost alarmingly in the mix, and there are sections where it’s just drums and a repeated piano chord. Rarely has such minimalism had such grit and power. And then a cuica joins in! What sublime music.

Claus Ogerman is the arranger again. And my how well he and Jobim work together. Ron Carter’s lithe muscular bass articulates the solid but flexible spine, Brazilian drummer Claudio Slon is superb, aided by percussion from Dom Um Romoa and Bobby Rosengarden. American jazzers – Urbie Green, Jimmy Cleveland, Jerome Richardson – blow their righteous horns.

Claudio Slon, drums.

The only issue with this sublime recording is that there isn’t lots more of it. Ten tracks, totalling just over half an hour! Totally essential, and as good a place as any to start your Jobim journey.

*I think this is also part of why Stone Flower and Tide are so damnably good!

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