ANTÔNIO CARLOS JOBIM: WAVE, 1967

Last week we had Quarteto em Cy and this week we continue the bossa nova recommendations with Antônio Carlos Jobim’s wonderful 1967 record Wave.

If you’re not at all familiar with this influential Brazilian composer, songwriter, arranger and singer, he was one of the primary forces behind the creation of the bossa nova style. His compositions have been performed by many artists and instrumentalists within Brazil and internationally. Jobim was even the first to win Album of the Year at the Grammies with a jazz album – the 1965 LP Getz/Gilberto. It also won Best Jazz Instrumental Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical and the album’s single “Garota de Ipanema” won Record Of The Year and went on to become one of the most recorded songs of all time (240 times).

Albeit many of Jobim’s songs having become jazz and pop standards and even having recorded an album with Frank Sinatra in 1967, the Brazilian composer is still largely unknown to listeners outside of jazz and bossa nova. So here is your chance to discover at least one of his best, if not his best, record Wave:

Wave was Jobim’s first release after having signed to producer Creed Taylor’s label CTI records in 1967 and it’s a remarkably seductive record full of sparely rhythmic acoustic guitar, simple melodic piano, exceptional drumming, harpsichord and even a rare vocal performance by Jobim himself on “Lamento”. It’s a shame that he sang so infrequently because for his limited vocal ability he still performed his own songs with great charm. There’s a romantic vulnerability to his brief vocal that adds to the spirit of the tune and to the record as a whole since all of it shows a similar allure and delicacy.

Some argue that Wave’s arrangements sound dated in 2017 but I’d argue that therein lies its incredible charm and even modern appeal: its evocation of a long-gone time and place – a romantic, relaxing offering of melancholia and a nostalgia that is, and I think that’s crucially important, NOT steeped in sadness for something gone. It has a playfulness that is not usually associated with nostalgia. In 2017 Wave serves as a look at the past without taking the gaze away from the future, instead just refreshing the mind in the present by offering what has been so good but long gone and its around half an hour duration makes it perfectly suited for a quick session of refreshment.

You can either listen to it below or on Spotify.

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