Ithmara Koorax & Juarez Moreira
Bim Bom (The Complete João Gilberto Songbook)
With Brazilians in the throes of celebration over the announcement about 2016 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, it seems appropriate to review a bossa nova recording. Brazilian chanteuse Ithmara Koorax and guitarist Juarez Moreira do their own bit of celebrating the founder of bossa nova, João Gilberto. The year 2008 marked the 50th anniversary based on João Gilberto’s first bossa nova recordings.
Fifty years later bossa nova feels hotter than ever and Gilberto has become a Brazilian jazz legend. The bossa nova style with its laid back groove, slightly flat and syncopated vocals and sedate guitar, seems only simple on the surface. After giving Bim Bom several listens and paying close attention to Koorax’s vocals and Moreira’s guitar, I could hear that this subtle music sports its share of complexities. The musicians, to their credit, only make it sound simple.
Only a handful of tracks appear here from the breezy opener, titular song, so tuneful it sticks in your head for the remainder of the day. The guitar work alone on the track could leave a listener exhilarated. Then top it off with Koorax’s masterful vocals which treat the challenge like musical playground. After the complex rhythms, Koorax slows down on Ho-Bà-Là-Là and her soprano voice glides gently over Moreira’s melancholic guitar. Minha Saudade though with its staccato guitar and Koorax’s scat-style vocals and signature scream (sounds like a bird whistle), is my favorite track on the album. This track gets me out of bed in the morning and I am rearing to go after listening to it.
Other tracks include, Forgotten Places, Voce Esteve Com Meu Bem?, Valsa (Bebel), An Embrace to Bonfà, Glass Beads, João Marcelo, Undiu, Acapulco and an English version of Ho-Bà-Là-Là. The entire recording feels like a warm Brazilian welcome, and certainly this music sets a romantic, if not, a relaxing mood. The Portuguese language, stellar vocals and gorgeous guitar entice listeners. And even more enticing, the sale of Bim Bom raises funds for the Dizzy Gillespie Memorial Fund and is part of Motèma Music Jazz Therapy series (http://www.motema.com/artist/jazz_therapy).
Also see the announcement about the Dizzy Gillespie Memorial Fund on this blog.
If you know of any health studies involving bossa nova, please contact me. I have an interest in learning more about healing potential of this Brazilian genre.