Jun 07 2003

Morelenbaum2/Sakamoto: A Day in New York

Breathless Again!


A Day in New YorkJobim is home, again.

One of 2002’s best releases, Casa, has a follow-up cd that is bound to leave you breathless again. A Day in New York picks up where Casa left off and takes you to another visit to the world of Jobim music in the hands of these highly talented musicians. The original trio, Jaques Morelenbaum (cello), Paula Morelenbaum (vocals) and Ryuichi Sakamoto (piano), was joined on the road by Luiz Brasil (acoustic guitar) and Marcelo Costa (percussion). This new quintet is what you hear in this recording.

The idea of the album was very simple. The musicians felt compelled not to end the dream tour they had experienced when they were going all over the world performing the songs in Casa. So, after their final performance in New York, the quintet decided to meet the next day at the Hit Factory studios on November 7, 2002, and register the thrill of what it was like performing all the songs in this cd. The result is A Day in New York, everything that Casa was and much more. Those who are skeptical of releases following a tour, let me assure you this is all new music with the exception of two songs. So, you are indeed getting a whole new album.

Morelenbaum2/SakamotoTo talk about the songs of Jobim and these performers might seem redundant and unnecessary, but a few highlights in this stellar repertoire must be examined more closely. The first notes you’ll hear are Sakamoto’s introduction for “Desafinado.” The tempo is faster than what you’re normally accustomed to hearing for this song, but the brisk pace is a joy to hear. The first non-Jobim song is a Bossa Nova tune written by the most famous name in the genre: João Gilberto. The song is simple and maintains the same tempo as the first track. The second non-Jobim track was the Bossa Nova influenced “Coração Vagabundo,” by Caetano Veloso. This, for me, is the best rendition this song ever received. The introduction and ending quote a few bars from Heitor Villa-Lobos’s “Prelúdio Nº 3 (Prelúdio da Solidão).” To talk about the influence of Villa-Lobos in Jobim’s music is a separate chapter, and to quote Villa-Lobos in Caetano Veloso closes the circle. Paula Morelenbaum’s voice carries the sadness of the lyrics very well and gives the musicians all the space they need to shine. It is no hyperbole to say that Sakamoto’s piano playing here is Jobim in its essence: the chords, the single notes, everything. If Jobim had ever performed this tune, what you hear in this recording is what he would have done, I’m inclined to believe. The third and final track not by Jobim is a wonderful surprise. “Tango” was written by Sakamoto and Onuki and received Portuguese lyrics by Paula Morelenbaum. Contrary to what its title might imply, the song is actually a sad Bossa Nova tune describing the pain a man feels after leaving his home and lover behind.

A Day in New York is sometimes meditative, sometimes melancholy and sometimes playful (just hear the ending in “Samba do Avião”). Through it all, the album is magnificent, and it was done in a single day! That is no rare feat and one that can only be easily accomplished when you bring together these consummate musicians. Get comfortable. You’re home again with Morenlenbaum2/Sakamoto.


A Day in New York
Sony Classical SK80018 (2003)
Time: 45’21”


  1. Desafinado (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Newton Mendonça)
  2. Bim Bom (João Gilberto)
  3. Insensatez (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
  4. Coração Vagabundo (Caetano Veloso)
  5. Falando de Amor (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
  6. Chora Coração (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
  7. Sabiá (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Chico Buarque)
  8. Tango (Ryuichi Sakamoto – T. Onuki – Portuguese lyrics by Paula Morelenbaum)
  9. Chega de Saudade (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
  10. Samba do Avião (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
  11. Fotografia (Antonio Carlos Jobim – English lyrics by Ray Gilbert)