Jazz

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Mu­sic Re­views - Eric My­ers Tim McNa­mara

Si­na­tra & Jo­bim @ 50 John Piz­zarelli fea­tur­ing Daniel Jo­bim Con­cord Mu­sic Group Frank Si­na­tra recorded many great al­bums in his career but none more plea­sur­able than his 1967 album with An­to­nio Car­los Jo­bim. For me, Si­na­tra’s read­ings of Jo­bim sta­ples such as How In­sen­si­tive and Once I Loved were de­fin­i­tive. John Piz­zarelli, son of the great Amer­i­can gui­tarist Bucky Piz­zarelli, has now is­sued Si­na­tra & Jo­bim @ 50, a trib­ute to the 1967 clas­sic. Piz­zarelli, 57, a veteran of 20 solo al­bums and a bril­liant gui­tarist in the main­stream jazz tra­di­tion, is no slouch at scat sing­ing in uni­son with his own im­pro­vi­sa­tions. To ap­pre­ci­ate this album, how­ever, one needs to look past Piz­zarelli’s mod­est sing­ing voice. He sings in tune, though, and his phras­ing is mu­si­cal; gen­er­ally his ap­proach is ad­e­quate for the gen­tle bossa no­vas that dom­i­nate here. Some of the 1967 reper­toire is du­pli­cated, in­clud­ing Jo­bim’s Dindi, Med­i­ta­tion and Quiet Nights, and the three Amer­i­can stan­dards that were so suc­cess­ful pre­vi­ously: Baubles Ban­gles and Beads, I Con­cen­trate on You and Change Part­ners. Piz­zarelli’s ar­range­ments bor­row ju­di­ciously from the su­perb Claus Oger­man or­ches­tra­tions that un­der­pinned the 1967 album. The high­light of Si­na­tra & Jo­bim @

is a fault­less ver­sion of An­to­nio’s Song, a truly beau­ti­ful work that Michael Franks wrote in trib­ute to Jo­bim. The vo­cals on the album are shared with Jo­bim’s grand­son Daniel Jo­bim, who re­minds us how sen­su­ous are the lyrics of his grand­fa­ther’s songs when sung in Por­tuguese. There are splen­did jazz so­los from pi­anist He­lio Alves and lyri­cal tenor sax­o­phon­ist Harry Allen. Allen largely em­u­lates Stan Getz, whose leg­endary sound was so much part of the bossa nova genre when it emerged in the 1960s. its pre­de­ces­sor, 2013’s Free Your Mind, in­stead pro­mot­ing big drums and gui­tars, sunny melodies and shiny, elec­tron­ica-tinged ur­ban grooves.

As usual, Whit­ford’s inim­itable voice an­chors pro­ceed­ings. The cow­bell and gen­tle bassline of opener Stand­ing in the Mid­dle of the Field cre­ates a eu­pho­ria touched with melan­choly.

It’s beau­ti­fully lay­ered, slow-burn fare with some gor­geous gui­tar flour­ishes to­wards the end, and is a warm-up to the per­cus­sive kick of Count­ing Down, which has all the in­gre­di­ents of a fu­ture festival favourite. There are chunky drums, swirling gui­tars and Whit­ford’s echo­ing vo­cal.

Lat­est sin­gle Black Rain­bows continues Haiku From Zero’s up-tempo tra­jec­tory and is no­table for its vo­cal hook, while Stars Last Me a Life­time harks back to 2008’s In Ghost Colours, as does the dance­floor-di­rected Mem­o­ries We Share.

This is an en­er­getic, emo­tive album and its ap­peal grows with each lis­ten.

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