Cult Classic: Antonio Carlos Jobim-Stone Flower.

Nowadays, Brazilian pianist, singer and songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim is regarded as one of the founding fathers of the Bossa Nova in fifties, which he internationalised in the sixties with the help of some American jazz musicians. They fused Bossa Nova and jazz to create a new and successful sound which featured on the groundbreaking and award-winning 1965 album Getz/Gilberto which won three Grammy Awards including Best Album Of The Year and Best Jazz Instrumental Album. This was a game-changer for Antonio Carlos Jobim who had enjoyed a meteoric rise since the early sixties. There was no stopping Antonio Carlos Jobim.

By 1970, Antonio Carlos Jobim was already regarded as one of the finest purveyors of Brazilian music and was signed to Creed Taylor’s CTi Records which was an imprint of A&M Records. This was fitting as Creed Taylor had produced the award-winning Getz/Gilberto, and whenever they worked together seemed to bring out the best out of Antonio Carlos Jobim and managed to do so on Tide and Stone Flower. 


When Antonio Carlos Jobim began work on Tide, over two years had passed since he released his previous solo album, Wave in October 1967. It had reached 114 on the US Billboard 200 and number five in the US Jazz charts making Wave his most successful album. While this was a lot to live up to, music had changed since October 1967 and it was a very different musical landscape as he began work on Tide.

For Tide, Antonio Carlos Jobim wrote seven new tracks and covered The Girl from Ipanema which he had written with Vinicius de Moraes and Norman Gimbel. The other song Antonio Carlos Jobim decided to record for Tide was Pedro Berrios, João de Barro and Pixinguinha’s Carinhoso. These nine tracks became Tide, which were arranged by Deodato and produced by Creed Taylor, at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey during May 1970.

Joining  producer Creed Taylor and Antonio Carlos Jobim who played guitar, electric piano, piano and added vocals were some of the top session players of the early seventies. The rhythm section featured drummer João Palma, double bassist Ron Carter and pianist Deodato. They were joined by percussionist Airto Moreira, conga player, Joseph DeAngelis, Ray Alonge on French horn and flautists Everaldo Ferreira, flautists Hubert Laws, Romeo Penque, Hermeto Pascoal and Joe Farrell who also played soprano saxophone. He was joined in the horn section by alto saxophonist Jerry Dodgion,  trumpeters Marvin Stamm and Burt Collins plus trombonists Garnett Brown and Urbie Green. Sweetening the sound of Tide was a string section which added the final piece of the jigsaw.

Six months passed before Tide was released by A&M Records in November 1970. By then, Antonio Carlos Jobim had returned to the studio in June 1970 to record his next album Stone Flower. It had a lot to live up to.

When Tide was released, it was to plaudits and praise with critics hailing Antonio Carlos Jobim’s latest album of jazz-tinged Bossa Nova as a fitting followup to Wave, which had been released three years earlier in October 1967. Sadly, Tide didn’t replicate the success of Wave which was Antonio Carlos Jobim’s most successful solo album upon its release on November 1970. By then, music had changed and maybe Antonio Carlos Jobim’s fans had moved onto other types of music. They missed out on what’s an underrated album from Antonio Carlos Jobim, Tide.

Tide opens with the familiar strains of the classic The Girl from Ipanema which was revisited and reinvented by Antonio Carlos Jobim and takes on a much more dramatic sound thanks to Deodato’s structured arrangement. This sets the bar high for the rest of Tide, which includes an understated but graceful cover of Carinhoso, which gives way to the brisk and breezy Tema Jazz which is one of Tide’s highlights, partly thanks to the contribution of maverick flautist Hermeto Pascoal. The tempo drops on the memorable ballad Sue Ann, before Antonio Carlos Jobim switches between piano and Fender Rhodes on Remember where the track veers between an irresistible Bossa Nova to a samba  beat. 

Melodic, orchestrated and full of contrasts describes Tide where  Antonio Carlos Jobim plays piano and acoustic guitar on a song that owes much to the title-track to his previous album Wave. There’s a return to Bossa Nova on Takatanga where Urbie Green’s rasping trombone plays a leading role in the sound and success of the track. The tempo drops on the romantic sounding Caribe, where Urbie Green and flautist Joe Farrell join forces and play starring roles. Later, the meandering melody becomes fragmented as Antonio Carlos Jobim’s piano punctuates Deodato’s arrangement on another masterful addition to Tide. Closing Tide is Rockanalia, which is built around Ron Carter’s standup bass line while Antonio Carlos Jobim’s plays as a starring role before horns add the final piece of this musical jigsaw. In doing so, they ensure Tide ends on a high.

Stone Flower.

While Antonio Carlos Jobim wrote and recorded Tide during the first half of 1970, he was also working on his next album Stone Flower. He had written eight new songs and decided to cover Ary Barroso’s Brasil for Stone Flower. Just like Tide, Stone Flower was arranged by Deodato and produced by Creed Taylor, at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey during June 1970.

This time around, it was a much smaller band that accompanied Antonio Carlos Jobim who played guitar, electric piano, piano and added vocals. The rhythm section included drummer João Palma, double bassist Ron Carter and guitarist Deodato. They were joined by percussionist Airto Moreira and Everaldo Ferreira, flautist Hubert Laws, soprano saxophone, trombonist Urbie Green and violinist Harry Lookofsky. Antonio Carlos Jobim and his band spent much of June 1970 recording Stone Flower which was released by CTi Records in July 1971.

When Antonio Carlos Jobim’s sixth album Stone Flower was released in July 1970, the album stalled at a disappointing 196 in the US Billboard 200. However, when Stone Flower reached eighteen in the US Jazz albums chart this pleased Antonio Carlos Jobim  and producer Creed Taylor.

Stone Flower opens with Tereza My Love which was a paean to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s wife, that initially is intimate but as the arrangement floats and meanders along, but ultimately becomes sensuous. Initially, the enchanting Children’s Games is airy and intricate as the arrangement waltzes along as Antonio Carlos Jobim’s piano locks into  a groove with the guitar before becoming intense and almost dramatic. Against a backdrop of syncopated rhythms, Antonio Carlos Jobim’s piano take centre-stage on Choro where his fingers fly across the keyboard. He then turns his attention to Brasil which is the unofficial Brazilian anthem. The arrangement’s drive along by a samba beat while Antonio Carlos Jobim delivers a lived-in, worldweary vocal.  

Very different is the progressive sounding Stone Flower, which opened the second side of the original album and veers between dramatic, rueful and urgent, but later, becomes intense and cinematic. It’s a similar case on Amparo, which sometimes sounds as if it’s been influenced by classical music, before veering between dark, dramatic and romantic as Antonio Carlos Jobim toys with the listener’s emissions during  an emotive, cinematic track full of tension. The ballad Andorinha soon takes on a late-night sound as Antonio Carlos Jobim plays Fender Rhodes and delivers a tender vocal against an understated arrangement that gradually builds and provides the perfect accompaniment to the founding father of Bossa Nova. God And The Devil In The Land Of The Sun lasts just over two minutes, and is an innovative track where Antonio Carlos Jobim turns his back on Bossa Nova with the help of Joe Farrell’s blazing jazz saxophone and pulsating rhythm section as the arrangement dances joyously along. Closing Stone Flower is Sabia  which is captivating, laid-back but also hypnotic and sometimes is otherworldly and allegorical that is one of the album’s highlights.

Sadly, Stone Flower was the last album that Antonio Carlos Jobim ever released on Creed Taylor’s CTi Records and he recorded one album for MCA Records before resigning with Warner Bros. However, during his short spell with CTi Records Antonio Carlos Jobim released two albums, including Stone Flower which is one of the finest albums that Antonio Carlos Jobim released during the late-sixties and seventies

When Stone Flower was released on Creed Taylor’s CTi Records imprint it marked the new chapter in Antonio Carlos Jobim’s career. Some of the music had been influenced by new his life in America, and saw him move away from his trademark jazz-tinged Bossa Nova sound. Especially on God And The Devil In The Land Of The Sun which was far removed from the Bossa Nova that made Antonio Carlos Jobim one of the most successful Brazilian musicians of his generation. However, for much of Stone Flower Antonio Carlos Jobim stays true to his jazz-tinged Bossa Nova sound, adding samba and worldweary vocals that have a soulful quality. This was a potent and memorable combination that resulted in critics calling Antonio Carlos Jobim’s  Stone Flower one of his  finest albums.

Stone Flower finds Antonio Carlos Jobim continuing in his mission to introduce his unique brand of jazz-tinged Bossa Nova to an international audience. This he had been doing since the fifties, and nowadays he’s regarded as one of the founding fathers of the Bossa Nova.

By 1971, Antonio Carlos Jobim was at the peak of his powers and one of finest exponents of Brazilian music. Proof of this is, Antonio Carlos Jobim’s oft-overlooked cult classic Stone Flower, which deserved to find a much wider audience than it did. Nowadays, Stone Flower is regarded as one of the hidden gems in Antonio Carlos Jobim’s’s discography and a reminder of a truly talented composer, pianist, songwriter, arranger and singer who was an innovator and without doubt, one of the legends in Brazilian music.

Cult Classic: Antonio Carlos Jobim-Stone Flower.

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