Recorded at a video taping in the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles as part of the Jazzvisions series, this was Jobim's live act shortly after he resumed touring in the mid-'80s. At the time, Jobim struck an avuncular, almost casually anti-show-business presence seated before a grand piano, presiding over a large ensemble composed of friends and family, singing in his endearingly rough, now-threadbare voice. Some of the performances here are little more than pro-forma run-throughs of standard Jobim oldies but things perk up when Jobim digs into some lesser-known compositions like his "Song of the Jet" and son Paulo's catchy "Samba do Soho." In any case, the material is always superb and the cool-voiced, always in-pitch Brazilian singer Gal Costa turns up on a few numbers.
Antonio Carlos Jobim's entry in the exhaustive Verve Jazz Masters set of historical reissues is one of the best single-disc Jobim anthologies available. It's not got much in the way of historical range, since it stops in the mid-'60s, just before Jobim left Verve for Reprise and then A&M. However, since Jobim's Verve years were, in the minds of many, his career highpoint, Verve Jazz Masters 13 distills the best of his most artistically and commercially successful period. Nearly all of Jobim's greatest songs are here in their definitive versions, and the whole is sequenced thoughtfully, so that the disc has a logical and delightful flow. This is magnificent stuff, as well as being the birth of bossa nova.
On Pastoral Fables, Alexandre Oguey and Neal Peres da Costa take famous sonatas by Brahms, Beethoven and Schumann and rearrange them for cor anglais and period piano. The cor anglais (woodwind instrument of the oboe family) is the instrument used by many composers in some of the most arresting moments of the symphonic repertoire, from Berlioz and Wagner to Shostakovich and Ravel, but its solo repertoire is unfortunately very restricted.