Thursday, June 26, 2008

Joao Gilberto: A god in New York

I'm back on earth from the João Gilberto concert in NY on June 22 at the JVC Festival. A crowded Carnegie Hall. Diana Krall, Tony Bennett, Mark Murphy, Jon Hendricks and Madonna in the audience, plus dozen of musicians, writers, record executives and JG fans from all over the world. 2,900 astonished people.

It's really crazy, but the master plays basically the same songs for 50 years . . . only guitar & voice . . . dressed in his banker's suit . . . hardly talks every song is 2-3 minutes . . . but, like my friend Seth Rothstein says, "EACH TIME IS AN EPIPHANY!"

He played for 2 magical hours straight and got standing ovations when he entered the stage, when he ended the concert and after the last encore.

Joao's rhythm seems even more sophisticated & more complex each day . . . absolutely more abstract and unpredictable... like the Japanese audience had the privilege to noticed in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Really beyond words.
I was wondering if as he ages, since he's becoming more eccentric in life, this is so beautifully reflected in his sense of time, rhythm, phrasing. He feels even looser and freer in his approach, slowing down the tempos, even on the sambas ("Doralice") and ballads ("Estate").

"Something new captivated me . . . What a great feeling I had . . . It was like seeing another genius inside a genius," Seth points out. And I must add: Joao never ceases to amaze me either!
"God was in NY. God sounded incredible!"

The following night, Herbie Hancock performed at the Carnegie Hall with completely different results...

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