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Saturday, October 8, 2022

Bossa Nova - Quincy Jones


Boogie Bossa Nova

The Newest Latin American Rhythm 
Big Band Bossa Nova
Quincy Jones
Produced by Quincy Jones
Mercury Records SR 60751

From the back cover: The adaptation of bossa nova to a big jazz band was obviously the task of Quincy Jones to undertake.

I first encountered Quincy in 1958 in Paris, where he was working and studying composition with the famed Nadia Boulanger. Unlike many jazzmen, he was interested in the musics of other countries, including the French chanson. A life that has seen a phenomenal amount of travel, including tours of the Middle East and Latin America, heightened that interest

Yet bossa nova gave him a thorough workout.

"The biggest problem was orchestrating the rhythm, so that it would be compatible with the music going on over it," he said. "You have to  keep it from sounding too weighty, because it's a floating rhythm. One of the things that makes bossa nova so rich is that it is strong rhythmically and harmonically.

"I think its influence on jazz will be lasting, rather than temporary. It will produce in jazz musicians a greater respect for polyrhythms. It has opened an escape hatch from the 2/4 and 4/4 trap jazz has been in. Jazz musicians have been experimenting with other time figures for the last few years, of course, but bossa nova really provides a fresh new direction."

A little over a year ago, there came to my hands an LP by a Brazilian singer named Joao Gilberto. Gilberto has one of the most remarkable approaches to vocal music I've ever heard. He sings lines of incredible length, like a modern jazz trumpeter, and sings them with a phrasing and a quality of rhythmic subtlety that I still find hard to believe.

In Rio de Janeiro, I met Gilberto at the home of composer-arranger Antonio Carlos Jobim, who works with him and who has written some of the most important bass nova melodies.

Obviously bossa nova draws heavily on jazz. Yet the Brazilian musicians, including Jobim and Gilberto, have transformed it into something their own. If there is an interest in jazz among the younger Brazilian musicians, there is an equal interest in Brazil's own cultural tradition, and a discussion of bossa nova soon leads into a discussion of the samba, from which bossa nova is derived, and of "carnival" music, from which the samba in turn is derived.

Bossa nova – which means "new wave," "new voice," or "new thing" – represents a revolution against the traditional samba. Rhythmically, it is much more subtle and flowing than samba, yet no less swinging. And it has a feeling that might best be described as controlled movement. Thought is seem rhythmically steady, as jazz does, it has a constant feeling of forward propulsion. It is played, to use a musician's phrase, very much on top of the beat. – Gene Lees

Also from the back cover: Quincy augmented his rhythm section with three Latin American percussionists for this LP. They are Jose Paula, Cancho Gomez and Jack del Rio. Chris White is the bassist, Rudy Collins plays the standard jazz percussion instruments, and on two tracks, Jim Hall – who has been in the forefront of bossa nova experimentation in this country – joins the band on guitar.

From Billboard - November 3, 1962: With the bossa nova trend firmly established this album by the Quincy Jones crew should interest nova-ites. It contains big band readings of "Desafinado," "One Note Samba," "Lalo Bossa Nova" and "Carnival" all handled brightly by the ork. Good listening here for jazz and Latin fans, and a good set for the pop market.

Soul Bossa Nova
Boogie Bossa Nova
Carnival (Manha de Caraval)
Se E Tarde Me Pardoa (Forgive Me If I'm Late)
On The Street Where You Live
Samba De Una Nota So (One Note Samba)
Lalo Bossa Nova
Chega De Saudade (No More Blues)

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