John Pizzarelli - Bossa Nova








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From the Telarc Records Site: "Sao Paulo and Rio are a dream come true for a singing guitarist. There is an understanding of the complexities of accompaniment, a knowledge that understated meditative singing can be more emotional and transcendent than any of the pyrotechnics present in most of today’s popular American music." —John Pizzarelli, from the liner notes

Brazilian vocalist and guitarist João Gilberto, bossa nova’s premier interpreter, helped launch a musical revolution in the 1950s by harnessing the gentle rhythms and soft, intimate lyrics of samba. Jazz vocalist and guitarist John Pizzarelli honors Gilberto’s spirit and subtly expands on his innovations with the release of Bossa Nova.

Pizzarelli’s fifth Telarc disc delivers a wide variety of tracks ranging from brash to introverted, and includes not only Brazilian standards, but also recently composed music. Bossa Nova overflows with highlights: five classic Antonio Carlos Jobim songs, including One Note Samba, The Girl from Ipanema, Waters of March, Só Danço Samba and Desafinado; a jaunty adaptation of Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm; a pair of Pizzarelli originals, Francesca and Soares Samba; and fresh interpretations of James Taylor’s top 40 hit Your Smiling Face and Broadway songwriter Stephen Sondheim’s I Remember.

Pizzarelli calls Bossa Nova "a true marriage of American and Brazilian music as well as American and Brazilian musicians." Produced by Russ Titelman, the project includes Paulinho Braga, who played drums with Jobim for many years, vocalist Daniel Jobim (Jobim's grandson) and Cesar Camargo Mariano, who produced, composed and played on many great Brazilian records, most notably with Elis Regina. The recording features string and flute arrangements by Don Sebesky.

A native of Patterson, New Jersey, John Pizzarelli has been playing guitar since age six, following in the tradition of his father, jazz guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli. Hanging out with his dad, the young Pizzarelli was exposed to all the great music of the era. At age twenty, John began his professional career alongside his famous father. He later ventured out on his own, forming the John Pizzarelli Trio in 1992.

In October 2003, Pizzarelli led a 40-piece orchestra at New York’s Radio City Music Hall in a live theatrical stage production of Sinatra: His Voice, His World, His Way.

Bossa nova is the most personal and international of Brazil’s musical forms. Its "cool" aesthetic—with its gentle rhythms, rich harmonies and seductive delivery—is a perfect match for Pizzarelli’s smooth and casual style. Anyone with open ears and a bent for Brazilian music will enjoy Bossa Nova.

Selections: One Note Samba - Fascinatin' Rhythm - Girl From Ipanema - Your Smiling Face - Estate - Desafinado - Aquelas Coisas Todas - I Remember - Francesca - Love Dance - So Danco Samba - Aguas de Marco - Soares Samba

Musicians: John Pizzarelli - guitar and vocals, Ray Kennedy - piano, Martin Pizzarelli - bass, Paulinho Braga - drums, Jim Saporito - percussion, Cesar Camargo Mariano - piano (tracks 7 and 11), Harry Allen - tenor saxophone, Daniel Jobim - background vocals and Portuguese vocal (track 3), Chiara Civello - background vocals and "Italian Coach", With: String Quartet, Flute Quartet

Bossa Nova has been released to considerable critical acclaim. The following is a sample of early reviews.

"The real question about this album is why Pizzarelli has taken so long to do a collection of bossa nova tunes. His soft-spoken vocals and masterful guitar playing closely parallel the work of the great bossa nova godfather Joao Gilberto. Although he has flirted with engaging Brazilian rhythms from time to time, this is Pizzarelli's first full-body immersion in the music."

"The results are first-rate, in part because Pizzarelli has used bossa nova rhythms in different tempos and styles and applied them to an intriguing range of material. Neither James Taylor's Your Smiling Face nor Stephen Sondheim's I Remember come quickly to mind as bossa nova candidates, but Pizzarelli gives each an entirely new, utterly appealing musical persona. The Antonio Carlos Jobim classics, The Girl From Ipanema, One Note Samba, Desafinado, and Agua de Marcos are even better, with Pizzarelli's empathic blending of the rhythmic lift of jazz and the sweet sensuality of Brazilian music." - Los Angeles Times

"At some point, every self-respecting jazz guitarist gets seduced by Brazilian music, by the bossa nova and the samba, and that means worshipping at the temple of Antonio Carlos Jobim (Girl From Ipanema, Desafinado and One Note Samba fame). This is perfect territory for the smooth stylings of guitarist/singer John Pizzarelli, and on his latest CD, he and a small group cruise through the classics above, as well as newer tunes by Brazilian writers such as Ivan Lins and Toninho Horta. Pizzarelli sounds right at home with the gentle rhythms and mellow vocal lines, and if he lacks the breathy sensuality of, say, Bebel Gilberto, he has plenty of spirit and fantastic guitar chops...the CD is a bright and breezy escape to a very colorful musical world." -

"Why John Pizzarelli isn't as celebrated as Harry Connick Jr. is beyond me. As Harry is to piano, John is to the guitar. This album completely explores Bossa Nova music along the lines of the Samba and the Girl from Ipanema. Overall, John's guitar is a shining example of how guitar playing should be done. John turns the electric guitar into an orchestral instrument and really deserves much more attention than he's getting. If you like Harry Connick Jr., this is a must-have jazz album." -

"John Pizzarelli's boy-next-door singing style is rhythmically engaging even as it holds subtle surprises. Hear "The Girl From Ipanema, from his new Bossa Nova as a new song, not the often-hackneyed overdone pop standard turned lounge staple. His intimate croon approaches that of Joao Gilberto's, the album's inspiration." - Downbeat

"The guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli knows all the right ingredients for making a satisfying bossa nova recording. First: Find yourself some world-class songs by the compositional master of the genre, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and then sprinkle other emblematic tunes around them. Next: Surround yourself with sympathetic musicians (tenor saxophonist Harry Allen, drummer Paulinho Braga), a superior producer (Russ Titleman), and a legendary arranger (Don Sebesky). And when you have all the ideal elements, throw in some surprises to keep things interesting. So nestled among favorites including The Girl from Ipanema, Desafinado, Waters of March, and Estate, there are reconfigured versions of James Taylor's Your Smiling Face and Stephen Sondheim's I Remember. Pizzarelli dives right into the Brazilian genre with the same verve and optimistic spirit that marked his earlier projects, his gentle and swinging vocals and virtuoso guitar playing placing their own stamp on the music. A lovely recording from a consistently entertaining performer." - Barnes and Noble

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