Ensemble Novo is dedicated to the music of Brazil from the 1960s and 70s – a period that covers the creative pinnacles of some of the country’s most important contributions to world culture, including bossa nova, pagode, samba rock, MPB and Tropicalia. Starting with the most obvious masterworks – by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Baden Powell and Milton Nascimento – the group has put together a book  of songs that represents the creative peaks of the era. The repertoire research starts with the well-known or “hit” versions of tunes, then extends to subsequent recordings. These may have been heard less frequently, but in many cases feature intricate, unusual arrangements. Below, a list of source recordings that inspired the versions on Look To the Sky…..

 

Vento Bravo. from Edu/Tom (1981). Of all the great post-bossa composers, Edu Lobo is quite possibly the least appreciated. This tune is one of his gems; it opens his eponymous 1973 album and has been recorded by many artists including Herb Alpert and Andy Summers of the Police. Our arrangement is drawn from one of the classic duet albums in Brazil history – Edu & Tom, featuring shared vocals from Lobo and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

 

Se a Tarde Me Perdoa: Joao Gilberto from O Amor, O Sorriso E A Flor (1960). This is one of the early gems featured on the record that first attracted Stan Getz and others to bossa nova. Gilberto’s version is one minute and 48 seconds of intimate perfection – crisp, disciplined, beautiful.

 

O Sonho: Egberto Gismonti from Egberto Gismonti (1969). Ensemble Novo recorded a song called “Pr’um Samba” from Gismonti’s debut album on our first effort, and we attempted to stay true to his version of this song, which was the guitarist and composer’s first hit. Many have recorded this tune; one of the most electrifying versions is by Elis Regina on Como e Porque.

 

Columbia Waltz: This is an original by Tom Moon that draws influence from several realms, including the later waltzes written by Jobim, like “Chinfluenced by several Jobim waltzes, including “Chovendo Na Roseira.”

 

Look To The Sky: Antonio Carlos Jobim from Wave (1967). One of Jobim’s most beautiful melodies, this song was part of his third US album. It features his spare, taciturn delivery of the melody on piano.

 

Cravo e Canela: Milton Nascimento and Lo Borges from Clube da Esquina (1972). From beginnings as a loosely-knit artist’s collective, Clube da Esquina became a force for innovation and creativity in Brazil after the release of this landmark album – which was, at first, panned by critics in Brazil. The original “Cravo” remains the most important version.