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Speaking of Jobim

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Album Review

By now everyone has heard at least one of Antonio Carlos Jobim's beautiful compositions, if only his most famous ones, "Girl From Ipanema" or "Desafinado," playing poppishly in an elevator or mall somewhere. His work has been recorded by every combination of instrument and voice, including Sinatra's. What distinguishes this CD from hundreds of others is its inclusion of 11 relatively obscure Jobim tunes, and the way this classy trio succeeds in communicating the essence of his special gifts with a minimum of fuss and feathers. (One track is a Carlos Lyra composition, "Voce e Eu," which blends in nicely.) The arrangements are elegant, combining jazz and Brazilian rhythms to gently swing the melodies and highlight Jobim's lush harmonies. The under-recognized pianist Eddie Higgins is a delight: Straightforward, relaxed, and varied, he sizzles on the up-tempo "Two Kites" and does a gorgeous rubato turn on "Inutil Pasagem" (Useless Landscape), one of Jobim's most heartbreaking songs. The always melodic bassist Jay Leonhart has some wonderfully warm solos, and demonstrates his superb bowing technique on several tracks, including the lovely "Bonita," while drummer Terry Clarke is consistently sensitive and vital, whether lofting a samba or swaying a ballad. It's difficult to pick highlights from this collection of sparkling gems, but it's easy to recommend it. An excellent introduction to Jobim's unique beauty, it will also appeal to long-term fans who already have an extensive collection of his work. Highly recommended.


Born: 21 February 1932 in Cambridge, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A solid bop-based pianist, Eddie Higgins has never become a major name, but he has been well-respected by his fellow musicians for decades. After growing up in New England, he moved to Chicago, where he played in all types of situations before settling in to a long stint as the leader of the house trio at the London House (1957-1969). Higgins moved back to Massachusetts in 1970 and went on to freelance, often accompanying his wife, vocalist Meredith D'Ambrosio, and appearing at jazz parties and festivals....
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Speaking of Jobim, Eddie Higgins
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