Are you tired yet, JazzBabies, of me talking about the ocean, the beach, the waves, the breeze? Please say no, you are not tired of it yet, because I have another soothing bossa tune for you today.
There’s something about the ceaseless rhythm of the sea that stills the madness of the world. Or just generates an overwhelming case of relaxation that makes me crumple up the list of things I should be doing in favor of doing nothing but listening to quiet jazz under the sun.
I didn’t make it to Rio, although I had a chance some years back. I was offered a teaching job, but the timing was off for me. I had responsibilities at home, responsibilities that gave me a lot of joy so I didn’t regret my decision. But when we have days like today in San Diego with what we call Chamber of Commerce weather, I head to the beach and my heart heads to Brazil.
Antonio Carlos Jobim was, without question, the master of the bossa nova, although he had lots of company – Joao Gilberto, Luis Bonfa, Elis Regina, Vinícius de Moraes – not to mention interpreters like Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd.
Jobim’s “Meditation,” is one of the loveliest of his tunes with lyrics by Jobim and Norman Gimbel. Musician and writer Bill Janovitz provided this gloss on the lyrics. “Meant to celebrate the simple beauty of life, the Zen essence, Jobim’s music and lyrics were full of sharp, natural images intended to speak directly to the soul. Gilberto’s whispery vocals and gentle classical guitar playing evoke the softness of night, the ebb and flow of the tides, and the waves on the beach, even before one translates the lyrics…
“On the 1967 album Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gimbel’s adaptation of the same last couple of verses goes more like this: ‘Though you’re far away/I have only to close my eyes and you are back to stay/…I will wait for you/Meditating how sweet life will be/When you come back to me.’ ”
Janovitz believes the original lyrics and translation convey the spirit of the song better without falling into sentimentalism, lyrics that speak of love after loss and “finding the reason for everything.”
However you choose to hear it or sing it, JazzBabies, this one is exactly right for a day at the beach, no matter where you are.