This exceptionally haunting and lyrical song by Quincy Jones has received its definitive interpretion by Astrud Gilberto with arrangement and accompaniment by the Brazilian organist Walter Wanderley. The melancholy urgency of the piece resonates well with the dark/sad tonality that pervades so much of Bossa Nova music, though its character is also reminiscent of certain otherwise very different pieces from the bebop era, which had a formative influence on Quincy Jones' music. There is definitely the remote influence of Charlie Parker and especially Dizzy Gillespie. It's truly a completely unique piece. The drifting melody which seems to skirt over the chord changes has a beautiful inevitability. Only a very gifted and skilled musician could have contrived such a beautiful work. So Quincy Jones deserves especial credit for crafting this song from the film "The Deadly Affair."
Astrud's delivery, so typically limpid and restrained, only serves to heighten the intensity of this darkly passionate song. The subtle but somehow fierce organ playing of Walter Wanderley acheives a sizzling romanticism that perfectly complements the reading of Astrud's apparently detached fatalism.
In my opinion, this track is a true musical masterpiece. Its remarkable economy of means is a testament to the skill of the composer as well as the artistry of the performers. In fact, it's a nearly perfect combination of expressive means and poetic intent. The beautiful resolution, with Astrud's perfect striking of the high B-flat over the half-diminished F-minor seventh, is a moment of sublime dramatic intensity, though profoundly understated, as is typical of her finest artistic moments. One is reminded of Miles Davis. Her poetic skill is rooted in subtlety.
I have listened to this extraordinary track hundreds of times, and always experienced chills rising up on the back of my neck. How amazing that this incredible musical gem was omitted from the original album A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness. Perhaps it was too intense, too heavy; whatever the case, it's a truly remarkable piece of music.
I'm truly grateful to have discovered this great albeit minor musical masterpiece. There's really nothing else quite like it! The sizzling but subtle sensitivity of the rhythm section (Claudio Slon on drums, possibly Joao Gilberto on guitar and Jose Marino on bass) adds an intensity to the piece which helps project the almost existential tone of the song.
I'm really swept away by this obscure and neglected work, which attains -- for me at least -- to a peak of poetic intensity really rare in music. As is usual with Astrud at her best, it accomplishes its artistic ends with what seems like the most minimal of means. But subtlety is always the avenue to the most profound of artistic experiences. I think this is a remarkable example -- one of the greatest -- of the wedding of popular music and high art. It is a truly perfect performance. In my opinion, its greatness increases rather than diminshes with repeated listenings. There is only one word for that -- it's magic!
from A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness (Verve 314 557 449-2), available on CD
09 Jan 04 ·rio: you must pick-up the quincy jones soundtrack (released with the score to "the pawnbroker") with astrud singing "who needs forever". The lush quincy jones score is hauntingly beautiful, and astrud never sounded better. This version is the real deal for me.. 11 Oct 08 ·rferus: Amazing guitar on this piece.
Quincy Jones is renowned more for his great arrangements than for his melodies, but I think this tune, from the soundtrack to 'the deadly affair' is really great. It's a slow bossa with a haunting lyric. Astrud sings in her trademark cool, detached style. I never grow tired of hearing this one. Astrud seems to have made a few impromptu appearances on film soundtracks, and I'm always on the lookout for more; one other great one was the Ennio Morricone score 'casse' (burglars), on which she sings two tracks.
from The Deadly Affair (Soundtrack) available on CD - The Pawnbroker/The Deadly Affair
An amazingly warm and funky cover of the Chicago song 'feelings'. I know that doesn't sound like a recipe for success, but it really is very cool. The song degenerates into a huge jamming session at the end and carries on for 9 minutes. But it's storming stuff!
This entertaining track opens with Astrud talking over a groovy guitar and piano background. As she starts to sing the words, the percussion becomes more pronounced, producing a nice bossa/funk hybrid. The production is very different to a lot Astrud’s work, probably because this album was from an obscure label (Perception) with contributions from different personnel than on many of her Verve recordings (e.g. Airto Moreira, Maria Toledo and Eumir Deodato).
The wonderful arrangement never fails to impress me whenever i listen to this Gilberto song (I always thought this was an Ogermann arrangement just to find out recently it's by Don Sebesky). Anyway, the arrangement is excellent: with its incredibly lush, glissanding strings it feels like you're just about to leave a 60s jet set lounge to enter your private plane on a sunny summer day that takes off to Rio. Well, that's how it sounds to me anyway...