Monday, January 4, 2016

Harry Allen - Something About Jobim (2015)

For 99 percent of all Brazilian musicians, Antonio Carlos Jobim is
number one. His composition skills and his unique talent makes
it possible for him to be, at the same time, amazingly sophisticated
and easy to listen to. It tells us a lot about Brazil. In a way all
Brazilian musicians have, like Jobim, a simple love of the beach,
the forests, the birds and a way of being. His development, both
as a composer and a lyricist, into the major artist that he is, makes
Jobim one of the proudest proofs of Brazilian potentials and
talent. Along with João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de
Almeida Jobim (his full name) have changed the ball game, and
given Brazilian music international exposure and shaped a general
view of what Brazil’s musical roots and creative resources are. It is
unthinkable to look upon Brazil as a musical nation without considering
Jobim’s artistic architecture and beauty.

Something About Jobim began in an unusual way, back in early
2015, when producer Rodolfo Stroeter was touring Europe with
Joyce and her trio: Helio Alves on piano, Tutty Moreno on drums
and himself on bass. They have been playing together for a long
run, and Denmark and Club Montmartre in Copenhagen are
among their top places. Rodolfo has worked with with Danish Stunt
Records on several occasions before and, when in Copenhagen, he
picked up some of the labels latest releases.

As always it took Rodolfo a few days to return to his Brazilian way
of life and get ready to listen to some new music. He is a slow
listener, and it takes some time before he is ready to absorb. Since
he became a musician, who also produces music of many different
styles, he is aware, that some good ideas often show up when he is
in the “slow mode” as a listener. And it’s a nice feeling being “slow”
as one can really join together many aspects of, not only music, but
of a joke, a Groucho quote, a poem, anything really. It’s a special
kind of mood, where everything makes much more sense, because
it is cooked slowly inside your soul.

It was in that kind of mood, Rodolfo checked out the albums and
also listened to QUIETLY THERE an album with the American
tenor player Harry Allen together with the Swedish players Jan
Lundgren on piano and Hans Backenroth on bass and the Danish
drummer Kristian Leth. “It immediately connected to one of those
slow corners of my soul”, Rodolfo Stroeter reflects. “Allen’s airy
tenor sound, along with his wonderful way of bringing up a solo,
and the perfect blend with the great trio, got me at once. I felt like
being in a distinct era, in foreign place, and in a quiet atmosphere
unlike the fast race, we are so used to.”

After a while, suddenly a title came to his mind: Something About
Jobim. He thought that this would be a good one for a project
which could finally feature Harry Allen. In life, things sometimes
come together at the right moment, as they did in this project.
Joyce and her trio (Helio, Rodolfo and Tutty) were booked for an
upcoming tour in USA and Canada in May/June 2015. If Allen was
interested, Joyce and the trio could have lots of fun and share this
music in a very casual way. Emailing Stunt Records was the next
step. It took about ten minutes to have the answer. It was an email
with a smile, and a positive vibe, that instantly got things to move.
Back in the 70’s, Jobim recorded three great albums in USA : TIDE,
WAVE and STONE FLOWER. The music has a special uncompromising
feeling to it.

The arrangements are great. There are a lot of
great players; Ron Carter on bass and Jobim himself playing the
guitar, giving each track its own flavor. The three albums, arranged
by Jobim, Eumir Deodato and Claus Oggerman, sound great,
creating a relaxed feeling which permeates the whole project, creating
a special environment. Curiously enough, most of the tunes
on these albums never became major hits, but all the compositions
had such a high spirit, a blessed Brazilian bossa nova and jazz
feeling. That was the main thing. To get this feeling down on an
album, would be such a major achievement. It is a sound of an era,
it is part of the main style Jobim created. It’s catchy, it has great
harmonies, melodies flows all the time, and the rhythm... and so
on and so on.

Joyce and Tutty were both enthusiastic about the project.
As a Carioca (a person born in Rio de Janeiro) Joyce knew
Jobim quite well. He respected and admired Joyce’s singing
a lot (he even wrote liner notes to one of her albums). And
Joyce knows most of Jobim’s repertoire by heart. So her great
talent, her prodigious memory and her wonderful skills would
be a blessing, and she came to it with her splendid voice, her
great feeling of Brazilian music and, last but not least, with her
unique guitar style, that we all know and love, blending bossa
nova, samba and jazz.
Tutty Moreno, is a special and drummer. Rodolfo and Tutty
have been sharing music for twenty years. He is a very creative
and dynamic player and besides being a great expert on
bossa nova and Brazilian jazz, Tutty has a very distinct smooth

Rodolfo started to email Harry. His Danish connection from
Stunt REcords had previously spoken to him, so they began to
exchange ideas for the project. Rodolfo sent some emails and
he would return with a very conclusive and short answers such
as: “Great!”, or “Let’s do it!”

And then to Helio Alves. He is a Brazilian living in New York
since the 1980’s, and a pianist with enormous experience from
playing with some of the most important musicians around,
such as Joe Henderson, Yo Yo Ma, and Paquito D’Rivera. Helio
had already worked with Harry Allen and knew all that could

Then, the recording sessions took place at Systems Two
Studio in Brooklyn in two days, but Something About Jobim
was done almost at once. The tunes included in the album
are either take one or take two (they never did a third one).
Although the sessions were short and fast, the music has a
“slow motion” atmosphere to it, as at the same time, the bossa
nova feeling travels towards the listener, creating an biance of
happy intimacy with the players and Jobim.

Bossa Nova, Jazz, Balads, Samba, all at once. Harry Allen’s
great sound, Joyce’s super voice and guitar, Helio Alves at his
best, and Rodolfo and Tutty cooking the meal very carefully.
Something About Jobim - we hope you will all dive in and
join the music with the same vibe as we have done!

Harry Allen - tenor sax
Helio Alves – piano
Rodolfo Stroeter – bass
Tutty Moreno – drums

Special guest: Joyce – voice (*) and guitar

Chovendo na Roseira*
Captain Bacardi
Sue Ann
Theme For Jobim*
Falando de Amor
Voce Vai Ver*
Tema Jazz