Sunday, April 27, 2014

Larry Goldings – “Caminhos Cruzados” - Mais Uma Vez [Portuguese for "One More Time"]

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

“With a decade [now, more two decades] of playing together under their belts, Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart must form one of the most long-lived organ trios in Jazz history.

Each member has amassed an imposing individual resume, during this period, yet their collective work has signified something more – a reaffirmation, not of the organ trio as a unit capable of satisfying a temporary fashion for things, but as an instrumentation as perfectly balanced in its way as the threesomes of piano, bass and drums or, in another realm, the string quartet.”
Bob Blumenthal, 1999

The music and the musicians on Hammond B-3 organist Larry Goldings’ Caminhos Cruzados [loosely translated from the Portuguese as “crossings paths”] have always been among my favorites.

Recorded in 1993, the compact disc seemed to come out of nowhere because its Brazilian bossa nova tunes hadn’t been in vogue for many years.

Here’s Larry description of how the recording came about.

“A few years ago, I made an interesting discovery about my early childhood. I had gone home to Massachusetts to visit my parents and brought with me a recording of the Brazilian singer João Gilberto. I had recently been introduced to his music by Jon Hendricks, with whom I was working, and instantly became somewhat of a fanatic.

At some point that weekend, I decided to play the CD for my mother, who isn't normally interested in the music I listen to, but I had an in­stinctual feeling that she would like it. After his opening guitar introduction, João started singing, and almost immediately my mother's face lit up and she said, ‘Oh, I remember this !’ I was sur­prised by her reaction and asked, ‘You mean you used to own this record?’ ‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘I used to play it for you when you were a baby. It would always calm you down.’

This startling piece of information was quite a revelation to me. Could this, I thought, ex­plain why I am so moved by João Gilbert's voice? Could it be, that upon listening to him now I experience the same feelings of innocence and security that I felt as an infant, 25 years ago?

Well, Sigmund Freud might have been better equipped to answer these questions, but all I know is that the music of Brazil is very close to my heart, and it was a pleasure to prepare and re­cord this CD. It was also a special challenge because the Hammond organ is not often heard in Bra­zilian music, although interestingly one of the early pioneers of the bossa nova was in fact an organ­ist named Walter Wanderley.

On this CD, the focus is not so much on the organ itself, but on the jazz organ trio - that is, organ, guitar and drums. The other members comprising the trio are Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart, who are two of the most creative musicians playing today and have recorded with me on two other occasions. The group is augmented by the exceptional Brazilian per­cussionist Guilherme Franco, who, during the making of this CD had many insightful comments and suggestions that helped shape the music. Finally, listeners will be enchanted by the thoughtful play­ing of Joshua Redman.

While researching the material for this CD, I realized that there are many beautiful songs that have not been given the recognition they deserve. I discovered four such song among my João Gilberto records:  So Danco SambaHo-ha-la-la,  Avarandado, and the title track, Caminhos Cruzados. The latter, written by the prolific Antonio Carlos Jobim is perhaps my favorite on the CD. The composition is one of Jobim's most lyrical and is harmonically lush and unpredictable. Listen to Peter Bernstein's sublime statement of the melody, and the percussion accompaniment of Guilherme Franco, who, like Peter, is a master of taste. Among the other tracks are the obscure Menina-Moca. whose harmonic movement has a particularly "classical" sound, and the familiar Once I Loved, which is treated in a much slower, moodier manner than usual.

There are three selections that are not Brazilian songs at all, but naturally lend themselves to the bossa nova feeling. They are: Where or WhenUna Mas, and Serenata, on which the band could not resist the urge to swing the solos. One of the two sambas on the CD, Manine, is my own composition. Featured here is the exciting interplay between Guilherme (on the cuica) and Bill Stewart. Words is also my composition, and was inspired by a Chopin mazurka. It is a perfect vehicle for Joshua Redman, who displays his ability to interpret a ballad with finesse and a hint of the blues.

I must admit that I have never visited Brazil. I feel, however, as if I have, because as I recently discovered, the first musical sounds I ever heard were those of Brazil. Although I doubt that I was actually "listening" to my mother's João Gilberto record, (as I was only 1 or 2 years old), his voice, and the harmonies and rhythms of his guitar, were seeping into my subconscious, planting the seeds that would later become my love of music.

- written by Larry Goldings”

To give you some idea of the wonderful music on offer on Caminhos Cruzados, the editorial staff at JazzProfiles in conjunction with the crackerjack graphics team at CerraJazz and the production facilities of StudioCerra have developed the following video and audio tracks for you to sample.

We hope that you will enjoy this in-depth presentation of classic Brazilian bossa nova by some of today’s most accomplished Jazz musicians.

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