Oscar Castro-Neves: This project, Live at Blue Note Tokyo, is endearing to my heart for several reasons: firstit was done on Tokyo. Japan is a land that never ceases to mesmerize and educate me with its culture, its history, and its people. There is, I feel, a strong connection between Japanese and Brazilian melodies, and I believe that part of this connection is the embedded emotion that both convey.
Second- this CD is the result of our performances at the Blue Note Tokyo, home of the highest quality music and one of the best jazz clubs in the world, a universal icon. Third- it brings together old and new friendships. Airto Moreira and Leila Pinheiro, artistic giants, have been my good friends and musical partners for many years. I wholeheartedly thank Marco Bosco, a long time musical co-conspirator. Marcelo Mariano and Paulo Calasans, friends I discovered a few years ago, apart from being superb musicians, are genuinely kind souls, people I know I can rely on, personally and musically. Taro, my new friend, is a very caring and dedicated overseer of this project. My intuition knows the quality of his heart, and I look forward to watering this new garden, and to learn more about the Japanese soul.
My heartfelt thanks to my dear friend Luiz Augusto Castro Neves, our Brazilian Ambassador in Tokyo, and his wife Sonia. Their warm hospitality and generous support were paramount to all of us. Thanks also to the whole friendly gang at Tupiniquim Entertainment Co., and thanks to the Blue Note Tokyo and its impeccable staff for all their gracious care. The camaraderie, this spirit of good fellowship that links us together, go on this record in the same way the notes we play do. That makes for even better music. I dedicate this music to my sister-in-law Olenka whose spirit has continuously illuminated our paths, and to Linaea and Tristan, the most precious arrivals in my lifemy first granddaughter and first grandson. What an intense joy this is. The show and this album are a snapshot of the trajectory of the Bossa Nova throughout the last 50 years. It looks at the music of the seminal composers, like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, Roberto Menescal and myself and also at the following generation of writers, like Edu Lobo, Baden Powell, Luis Bonfá and others.
At the time this text was getting ready to go to print I learned that my friend Kenny Rankin has left us. I would like to celebrate his legacy to us as singer, composer and guitarist. His recordings will keep teaching us how high you can take your art and how you can make it your own. How lucky I am to have known and worked with him.
AIRTO MOREIRA: When Marco Bosco called me for a Brazilian Celebration concert series at the Blue Note Tokyo, I was excited at the prospect of being a part of this project. It had been some time since my last trip to Japan, and I was really looking forward to going back. Not only is Japan one of my favorite places in the world, but I would also have the opportunity to play in this all-star top notch Brazilian ensemble. The group features legendary players such as Oscar Castro-Neves, one of the creators of the Bossa Nova style along with Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, Paulo Calasans, Marcelo Mariano, and of course Marco Bosco and myself. Also featured is Leila Pinheiro, the fantastic Rio de Janeiro based vocalist.
We only rehearsed two days before the band sounded great and were ready to perform. The Blue Note Tokyo is probably the best jazz club in the world today. They have state of the art sound and lighting systems and expert technicians operating them. As a performer, I felt how important the music was to everyone there. We played twelve shows in six nights, and each show was better than the last. The musical energy we created was so strong and positive that audiences at times were actually clapping and singing along with the band, something very unusual for Japan. It is wonderful that the shows were recorded, because fans of Brazilian music will be able to share this rare musical experience for many years to come.
I hope your light burns eternally. Kisses from Leila San.
LEILA PINHEIRO: To return to Japan to sing at the Blue Note Tokyo, in such special company, in perfect sync with Oscar, Airto, Marcelo, Paulinho and Marco Bosco was a gift I received with my heart jumping with joy. We lived unforgettable evenings, singing and playing Brazilian music in all its multiple, beautiful forms. For six long evenings, we performed 12 shows, with passion, enthusiasm and joy. How enchantingly kind and receptive, respectful and in love with our music the Japanese public is. I feel very happy to have this sincere and profound relationship with Japan and the Japanese. I want to thank everyone at the Blue Note staff for their loving and professional hospitality. I also want to thank Flavia Souza and Cristiane Jacques, from Tacacá Music), Marco Bosco and the whole Tupiniquim crew, Taro Sakai and very specially thanks to my darling Oscar. You are a firefly, my dear.
MARCO BOSCO: Great meeting, great musicians, great friends and great lives could only result in a great moment which perhaps is historical. It is very good to see an idea grow, taking form and color, like a plant that you take care of. Then, one day, you see it turn into a tree that you can pick fruits from. They ripen and are already here, for all to feel, smell and savor. Oscar Castro-Neves is a musician with an artistic personality that involves and cheers all. With his wide smile, and with closed eyes, he joins music and people together.
Besides being a living legend of Brazilian music history, with echoes in many parts of the world and many careers, he is the Maestro, and the catalytic element of this project. We are all proud to be part of this project, and happy to be able to share sounds with this great music icon. It is a very special moment for any musician to get invited to share the stage with Airto Moreira, and much more special yet, to place music in the air, guided by the hands of the master. Leila, this incredible artist and interpreter, carries in her voice the whole history of Brazilian music. She is our guarantee that high quality music will stay alive here and everywhere.
PAULO CALASANS: I am thankful and pleased for the invitation to participate in this project. It is not every day that you can gather together three icons of Brazilian and international music, each one using their great talents to give us an unforgettable show. Oscar, his unique compositions have belonged to the world for many years. His beautiful arrangements characterize his enormous contribution to Brazilian music. Leila, with her wonderful voice that captures, gives meaning and explains the essence of any melody. Airto is the rhythm of the soul. He transforms the drums into a melodic instrument, almost chromatic. You can add to that the immediately recognizable bass of Marcelo Mariano and Marco Bosco with his percussion forest, full of bird sounds. There we have it: a definitely enduring and memorable show. Thank you all!
MARCELO MARIANO: It is an enormous privilege to be beside these wonderful colleagues and fantastic musicians, celebrating, together with my dear friend Oscar Castro-Neves, the Bossa Nova and its timeless songs.
Recorded live at Blue Note Tokyo, Japan, between April 26 and May 1,2009. Produced by Marco Bosco and Oscar Castro-Neves. Musical director: Oscar Castro-Neves. General director: Marco Bosco. Executive producer: Taro Sakai, CT Music. Executive producer of ZOHO release: Joachim Jochen" Becker.