This CD, recorded live at the Bank of Brazil Cultural Center in Rio de Janeiro in 1990, captures the creator of the bossa nova, composer-pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim (1927-1994), in tribute to his beloved collaborator, poet-lyricist Vinicius de Moraes. He's backed by three-fourths of the Quarteto Jobim-Morelenbaum (Jobim's son and guitarist Paulo Jobim and husband and wife Paula and Jacques Morelenbaum on vocals and cello) with flutist Danilo Caymmi, son of the Bahian legend Dori Caymmi. In this drumless chamber setting, Jobim's French impressionist influences shine through, from well-known hits "Ela e Carioca," "Insensatez," and "Garota de Ipanema" to the elegant "Valse de Eurydice" from the film Black Orpheus. Rare de Moraes standards like "Voce e Eu" and "Samba do Carioca"–both cowritten by Carlos Lyra–are rendered with a touch of jazz and the feeling of longing referred to as saudade in Portuguese. Add Jobim's recitation of Vinicius de Moraes's poetry and you have an evening of musical genius.
Recorded live in Brazil in 1990 and not released in the U.S. until now, "Tom Canta Vinicius" (translate "Tom Sings Vinicius") is Tom Jobim's tribute to his songwriting partner Vincinius de Moraes. While de Moraes was not nearly as famous as Mr. Jobim, his standing as a bossa nova original is secure, having helped pen several of the best-loved songs of that genre. Many of those were performed in this concert, including my favorite bossa tune, "Insensatez," one of the most beautiful songs of all time. Jobim was accompanied by his son Paulo, Danilo Caymmi and the Morelenbaums. In fact, Paula Morelenbaum sung most of the lead vocals - and did a magnificent job. Tom sang a few numbers alone or in duet with Paula, in his sometimes thin or fragile-sounding voice (but not really a problem, because you can feel his love for the songs). The sound quality for the recording is excellent - intimate and natural, like they're playing in your living room.
Vinicius de Moraes was the lyricist for many of Antonio Carlos Jobim's most durable melodies. This lovingly performed concert was recorded at Rio's Centro Cultural do Brasil with just a chamber-sized selection of players from Jobim's band of family and friends. A few well-known pieces are included - there is a very touching rendition of "Insensatez" that makes this often-played tune seem freshly minted - but most of the selections are among the less familiar fruits of the collaboration, along with a few songs that de Moraes wrote with Carlos Lyra and Toquinho. Some of de Moraes' own music is performed here as well, and selections like the stunning "Serenata do Adeus" prove that he, too, had a haunting way with a melody. Cushioned by the deep, soulful cello of Jaques Morelenbaum and by Danilo Caymmi's flute, with guitarist Paulo Jobim often the sole rhythmic component, Jobim's own rough, vulnerable voice and piano are offset by the clear, cool vocals of Paula Morelenbaum. Between numbers, Jobim offers his own running memoir in Portuguese, yet he could also flash his sense of humor - following de Moraes' "Canta ao Tom" with a parody co-written with Chico Buarque called "Canta do Tom" or playing a mischievous piano lick at the end of "The Girl From Ipanema." ~ Richard S. Ginell, All Music Guide