Featuring the Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, The Originator of Bossa Nova
Ginza Swing July 2, 2016
Shigeru Morishita森下 滋—piano
Shin Kamimura上村 信—bass
Guest: Shun Katayama片山士駿—flute
Sinking into the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim with such talented musicians is a rare treat. That violinist Satomi was so knowledgeable about his life and work, and took time to talk about it all made this evening all the more special. Starting off the show with a pizzicato version of “Fotografia” made it immediately evident that the band had Jobim’s songs, his savvy sadness and elegant beauty well in hand. The rest of the evening alternated between Jobim’s better-known tunes and some choice selections of lesser-known tunes.
Japanese musicians seem to have a special feeling for Jobim songs, but this band really sank into the songs with more passion than respect. The respect was reserved for Satomi’s interesting account of Jobim as a creator, performer and human being in between the songs. The crowd, gathered around the U-shaped counter of Ginza Swing, was as fascinated to hear Satomi’s talking as the music. But for this jazz writer, the music was the focus. No one, though, was anything less than mesmerized.
Standouts of the evening’s music were many. “One Note Samba” was more “One Note Swing,” but still fun, bouncy and gorgeous. Twenty-one-year-old Katayama added fantastic, and very Brazilian, sounds to “Dindi,” and came back to play on many tunes through the evening. “Dialogo” was especially pretty, with just the right Brazilian rhythm and feeling. On “No More Blues,” Satomi and Katayama’s trade-off was riveting.
In the second set, “Luiza” was delivered with the stately, sad beauty of the original. “Agua de Beber” was jumped up with an injection of New Orleans second-line funk, a scandal perhaps to some Brazilian purists, but a great combination. “If You Never Come to Me” (“Inutil Paisagem”) was also given a funk-jazz workout that worked perfectly. Satomi plays violin with classical precision combined with the feeling of a folk music dance band. She has a real sense of how the music works from inside.
Because the audience seemed to know almost all the songs, not just “Girl from Ipanema,” the excitement of hearing a classic like “So Danca Samba” was especially pleasing. Satomi’s solos on every tune were matched by the tasteful piano of Morishita, who also knew a lot about Jobim and contributed to the inter-song conversation. Osaka and Kamimura, stalwarts that they are, can do no wrong, but they also let any reserve go and entered into the magic of Jobim’s works. The only sad point was that Jobim has so many gorgeous songs left for them to play. Next time then!