Sure, I’m Going to Brazil – on my iPod
I still have not made it to Brazil -- although following Brazilian fans around Barcelona in 1982 and watching Sócrates and Falcão on the field probably qualifies me. I describe that seminal moment in my book.
Most soccer fans would list Brazil as their first or second favorite team. Well, maybe not Argentines.
I did catch some Argentina fans enjoying Brazilians dancing and playing music in the parking lot in New Jersey two summers ago. But that was before a friendly.
If it’s not the soccer, it’s the music that makes people think we have been to Brazil.
I was exploring that theme during my interview with John Schaefer, who has been producing New Sounds and now Soundcheck on WNYC-FM in New York for many years. That lovely interview was played Tuesday, June 10, after 9 PM.
Schaefer asked me to pick three songs that represent my love for soccer. For two of them, please check out Schaefer’s show or podcast. The third came directly from his show 13 years ago, when he played a “new sound” – a CD named Casa, featuring the trio, Morelenbaum2/Sakamoto, with a photo of Corcovado on the front.
You know how sometimes you hear a “new sound” and you wonder how life existed before that moment? I can trace a few albums or songs to that first ethereal experience.
Out of the ozone came Ryuichi Sakamoto, a Japanese activist-pianist, Jaques Morelenbaum, a Brazilian cellist, and Paula Morelenbaum (wife of Jaques), a singer. They recorded songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim in the house of Jobim – hence the Casa – and gave them a unique jazz/samba interpretation. I went out to Tower Records the next day and bought the CD. Been playing it ever since. The counter in my iTunes says it is my most-played album.
Omigosh, where to begin: melancholy songs of love, found and lost.
Fotografia, about a couple in a bar along the beach, ending with the Portuguese aquele beijo (that kiss) sung so insistently by Paula Morelenbaum, and then in English, with her delightful inflections.
Estrada Branca, about memories of a couple walking, walking, walking, and then her sighting the former lover “walking on my street.” When I looked up the Portuguese, the last words of the song are “death wish.” The American lyrics were quite a bit more upbeat. So it goes.
But the song I chose from Casa was Jobim’s classic Samba do Avião, once recorded by Tony Bennett as “Song of the Jet,” about flying home to Rio. It starts with Sakamoto’s rhythmic piano, incorporates Jaques Morelenbaum’s moody cello, and features Paula Morelenbaum’s soaring voice. After touchdown, there is a long jazz riff about the energy of Rio.
In musical terms, we might as well all be Brazilians. For me, it goes back to the classic Getz/Gilberto in 1963, with Astrud Gilberto singing some of Jobim’s songs, including The Girl From Ipanema. Then there was Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66. My pal Doug Logan got me hooked on Caetano Veloso doing Jobim, doing Michael Jackson. And some Brazilian friends have introduced me to Gal Costa, João Gilberto, and recently Ana Carolina e Seu Jorge. And on the classical end, the music of Villa-Lobos.
Almost forgot the writer-singer Susannah McCorkle, who sang in Portuguese, Italian and English, and totally owns the Jobim classic, "The Waters of March."
So, yes, I have been to Brazil. Will be watching – and writing about – the World Cup for this site for the next month plus, starting Thursday, from 3-6 PM, at Foley’s on W. 33 St. in Manhattan, selling my book, watching Brazil-Croatia. The iPod goes with me, Brazil only a touch away.
Here is the link for the podcast of the interview:
6/10/2014 05:41:39 am
Morelenbaum/2Sakemoto should hire you as their press agent. Your descriptions of their music makes me want to hear it all.
6/10/2014 05:50:53 am
Joe, thanks. The Morelenbaums were at Carnegie Hall a few years ago but I couldn't get there. He and Caetano Veloso appear in the Almodovar movie Talk to Her. Thanks for the nice words. GV
Thor A. Larsen
6/10/2014 01:08:38 pm
Well, George, we have been to Rio and thoroughly enjoyed probably the most beautiful city in the world. In terms of music and dance, via a local tour guide, we went to a local community Samba practice session. The whole community was engaged, from 14 to 84 years of age. There were many drummers, the dancing was infectious as they Samba’d around a track, hundreds of local plus Arlene and I. Being totally surrounded by a large crowd of of locals made me a bit concerned, but after our host brought me a tall glass with something strong and tasty, I felt no pain and thoroughly enjoyed doing the Samba with the locals around the track, sharing smiles and laughter and dancing to the large drum band of young men. Samba music is the sound of Brazil in my view.
6/11/2014 12:30:14 am
Thor, you and Arlene get around. Nice memory. GV
6/10/2014 04:34:32 pm
In 1991 Joao Gilberto, in a change from his own music, recorded "You Do Something to Me....," Our first grandchild was born and we heard the song during our first visit, and Alec, "did something to us.." we have never forgotten.
6/11/2014 12:33:53 am
Ed, Thanks for the memory of your first meeting with you grandchild.
6/24/2014 05:37:30 am
Hey George, I hope this email finds you well. After Bob Welch passed away, I tried to locate 5 o'clock Comes Early. Only luck I had was thru Amazon. However, after purchasing it for $83, they pulled it back and said the book was damaged because of shipping. Now they're (Amazon) is asking for a new hardcover for well over $2000.00 (2K) although you can still get a used one for $199.00. Curious to know if you know, what gives? Being a Southern Californian, growing up as a kid during the 70's, a USC graduate and Rod Dedeaux/Tom Lasorda fan, as well as an alcoholic myself, I really wanted a copy. Do you know if there are any other avenues to pursue? Thank you, Andy Ducey, San Jose, Calif. All the best..
7/4/2014 03:28:22 am
But the tune When i select from Casa has been Jobim’s basic Samba perform Avião, the moment saved by means of Tony Bennett seeing that “Song of the Plane, ” concerning flying household to help Rio. The idea commences using Sakamoto’s rhythmic keyboard, contains Jaques Morelenbaum’s moody cello, in addition to features Paula Morelenbaum’s jumping style. Soon after touchdown, there is a long jazz riff around the strength regarding Rio.
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“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.