Antonio Jobim has a lot to answer for. As one of the founders of the bossa nova sound, in the 50s and 60s, he is most well-known outside of his native Brazil, for the seminal number Girl from Ipanema. He is the perfect subject for a cabaret tribute.
The backbone of this show is Panorama Brasil, the amazing outfit put together by percussionist Alastair Kerr. Consisting of Asha Henfry on flute, Al Parsons on trombone, Matt Bowden on piano and Jorge Albuquerque on bass, and joined by legend Doug de Vries on guitar, this was a dream combo to deliver the sounds of Jobim.
The set opened with some of Jobim’s instrumental work, little of which is known outside of Brazil. He was even commissioned to write music for the opening of Brasilia in 1960. This work is similar to that of Villa-Lobos, both writers being imbued with the sounds of their rich and diverse country.
Panorama were then joined by Brazilian chanteuse, Alda Rezende. Rezende’s rich, edgy alto gave us Jobim in his natural state, although not always in Portuguese. Some of Jobim’s numbers were actually written in English, such as Bonita, which Rezende delivered to us superbly.
Next out was Australian legend, Vince Jones. Jones, like Sinatra, Bennet and many others, is not a great singer. He does not have a huge range, massive power, or sweet tones. What he is, is a brilliant interpreter of songs. Whether it’s Van Morrison, jazz standards, or Jobim, Jones brings his own unique approach to vocals, which particularly stood out in Chega de Saudade, Vou te Contar and Insensatez. It was disappointing, however, that Jones didn’t do more work with the trumpet.
Rezende and Jones then did a couple of duets, concluding with the inevitable Ipanema, which was rendered in English, Portuguese and Te Reo Maori. The latter was chosen in deference to Rezende’s adopted home of New Zealand, and Jobim’s own respect for indigenous rights. She is now looking for someone to translate the song into an Australian aboriginal language as well.
This was a beautiful evening of music and warmth, which lead me to say to the performers, on my way out, the only word I know in Portuguese: “obrigado”. It simply means “thank-you”.
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Your Twitter: @TraceyKorsten
Rating (out of 5): 4
Venue: Festival Centre Stage
Season: 12th-14th June
Duration: 70 minutes
Bookings: Book online through wwwadelaidecabaretfestival.com.au or phone BASS on 131 246