June 21, 2016

Jorge Ben - Samba Esquema Novo (1963)

Jorge Ben's debut album was released during the initial bossa nova upswing and established the artist as one of the most important figures in the genre. Bossa nova is a style of Brazilian music and a subgenre of jazz which blends the cooler, west coast flavor of American jazz with samba and other sounds found in the realm of mid-century Brazilian pop music. 1963 was when Stan Getz collaborated with João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim for his series of Brazilian-inspired albums, making bossa nova and other samba related music a huge hit in the United States. I don't know much about this genre, but I credit my love for the album to Jorge's superb voice and sense of melody, the golden balance of smoothness and punctual rhythms, and non-sappy horn arrangements. The album is quite brief as well, clocking in at under 30 minutes with each song wrapping up by the three minute mark, making this an easy starting place with which to attack the genre. Keep in mind I've only heard around six true bossa albums, but I've yet to hear anything as well-rounded and memorable as Samba Esquema Novo.