Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Bossa Nova Duck's Feet

You are not a sophisticated person unless you know about Antonio Carlos Jobim. It's a great big world, with lots in it to distract you, but you've got to try to keep up.

It sounds effortless, just a man with a gut string guitar and a soft voice. It's that most marvelous of artistic things: something that sounds fine when done by the amateur, but capable of almost limitless improvisation or interpretation by the most talented of people. There is a kind of gossamer steel superstructure in it. You can hang all sorts of things on it, and it can take the weight. But it hardly seems more than a bubble in a glass.

It's funny to watch the man who's supposed to have the hammer, and the fellow with thin, breathy voice sing it together. It's Sinatra that's trying to glom onto the verve and panache in the thing. Jobim brings it all with him. He needs nothing from anyone but their attention. Sinatra's front of disenchanted urbanity is stretched to the limit here and there if you look for it. You can see him straining to hit things properly. Jobim is the duck's feet the whole time.

It's Valentine's Day this week. Wake up and smell the Bossa Nova.


reader_iam said...

Lifelong Jobim lover.

SippicanCottage said...

Well, we knew you were sophisticated.

reader_iam said...

Except for when I'm not!

Loved the commentary about Sinatra, by the way.

SippicanCottage said...

Sinatra is interesting. He was never my favorite sort of singer. He's worthy of a great deal of analysis, though.