A superlative release simply in the mere fact of these twenty duets, Veja o Som – See the Sound is Jovino Santos Neto’s best album to date. After his 2009 Latin Grammy nominated album Live at the Caramoor (with Weber Iago), Jovino outdoes himself with this new double album, a clear contender for one of this year’s best releases. It is truly no wonder that Veja o Som – See the Sound brings together the best of Brazilian and US musicians performing music that expanded their own personal boundaries. The artists “deliberately chose to record material that none of them had much experience performing live or in the studio.” The result is magnificent and so vibrant that the listener not only “sees the sound,” but he/she also feels the quality of these timeless renditions, most of them first-take recordings.
Several things set Veja o Som – See the Sound apart. First and foremost, there is Jovino’s incredible piano work. As if that would not be enough, he also adds some fine performances featuring a bamboo flute (“Veja o Som”) and a melodica solo (“Ahiê” – sweet, sweet track!). Next we have the repertoire with a good mixture of Brazilian classics covering Choro (“Santa Morena”), Bossa (“Insensatez”), Forró (“Feira de Mangaio”) and a whole lot more. The songwriters featured in the album cover from Pixinguinha and Jacob do Bandolim (Jacob Bittencourt) to Hermeto Pascoal, Djavan, Moacir Santos, Tom Jobim, Milton Nascimento, Toninho Horta, Chico Buarque and a true who’s-who in Brazilian music. In addition to those, there is also original music Jovino wrote, such as the title track and “Cruzando o Sertão.” There is even a US classic added to the repertoire: “Nature Boy,” with Jovino doubling on flute and piano and Joe Locke on vibes. To top it all, we have these top-notch musicians from both sides of the Equator.
The first disc was recorded in the US and features giants such as Mike Marshall, Paquito d’Rivera, Bill Frisell, Airto Moreira, Tom Lellis and Joe Locke, just to name a few. It is really impossible to pick what my favorite tracks are in this first set. The musical diversity coupled with these brilliant renditions make each track an individual treasure of pure joy. The first sublime moment I’d have to point out, though, is when Gretchen Parlato enunciates the first words in “Insensatez.” Nothing can describe the feeling and deep emotion in this piano/voice duet. As Jovino himself describes it, this is “a deeply lyrical and sparse interpretation… a game of hide-and-seek in slow motion.” Also, Bill Frisell’s soft electric guitar performance in “Caminhos Cruzados” is another memorable track in the first disc. Piano and guitar alternate notes in an effortless arrangement. Indeed most of the music in these two CDs were spontaneous creations between the two artists featured in each track.
Disc 2 opens with “Ahiê,” a duet with João Donato. Though Donato’s electric piano is captivating, it’s Jovino’s melodica sound that dominates the track. I confess I could listen to this track over and over. The melodica/electric piano combo is perfect, serene and mesmerizing. The duets with Monica Salmaso (“Sonora Garoa”) and Ricardo Silveira (“Morro Velho”) are also another highlight. However, “Feira de Mangaio,” with Toninho Ferragutti will most definitely leave you breathless in awe. This fiery forró is intoxicating, and these two musicians give their all in an unparalleled arrangement. All of that was done in one take! Hats off! Also I cannot forget to mention the vocal prowess of Joyce Moreno and Paula Morelenbaum in “Canção do Amanhecer” and “Joana Francesa.” Heavenly renditions!
I could keep on writing about each track and the nuances and feelings in each performances. Even better, though, is to read Jovino’s own track-by-track description in the liner notes. Just make sure you are playing the music, “seeing” the sound and feeling a world of emotions in this destined-to-be desert island release! Veja o Som – See the Sound is greatness in music!
Jovino Santos Neto
Veja o Som – See the Sound
Adventure Music AM1063 2 (2010)
Time Disc 1: 56’33”
Time Disc 2: 49’35”
Tracks: Disc 1 (Recorded in the USA)
- Aquelas Coisas Todas (Toninho Horta) w/ David Sanchez
- Santa Morena (Jacob Bittencourt) w/ Mike Marshall
- Insensatez (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes) w/ Gretchen Parlato
- O Que Vier Eu Traço (Alvaiade – José Maria) w/ Paquito d’Rivera
- Caminhos Cruzados (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Newton Mendonça) w/ Bill Frisell
- Veja o Som (Jovino Santos Neto – Airto Moreira) w/ Airto Moreira
- Flor de Lis (Djavan – Regina Werneck) w/ Tom Lellis
- February 1 (From The Calendar of Sound) (Hermeto Pascoal) w/ Anat Cohen
- Glória (Pixinguinha) w/ Danilo Brito
- Nature Boy (Eden Ahbez) w/ Joe Locke
Disc 2 (Recorded in Brazil)
- Ahiê (João Donato – Paulo César Pinheiro) w/ João Donato
- Sonora Garoa (Marco Antonio Vilalba “Passoca”) w/ Monica Salmaso
- Morro Velho (Milton Nascimento) w/ Ricardo Silveira
- Cruzando o Sertão (Jovino Santos Neto – Luiz Guello) w/ Luiz Guello
- Feira de Mangaio (Sivuca – Glorinha Gadelha) w/ Toninho Ferragutti
- Canção do Amanhecer (Edu Lobo – Vinícius de Moraes) w/ Joyce Moreno
- April Child (Moacir Santos) w/ Vittor Santos
- Joana Francesa (Chico Buarque de Holanda) w/ Paula Morenlenbaum
- Canto de Xangô (Baden Powell – Vinícius de Moraes) w/ Gabriel Grossi
- Alegre Menina (Dori Caymmi – Jorge Amado) w/ Teco Cardoso