Jon Gold is a wonderfully soulful pianist …. his music has evolved in a very insightful and delicate direction that speaks powerfully to the listener. Using interesting instrumental combinations, a wide compositional palette and an all-star cast of American & Brazilian musicians, "Brazil Confidential" rewards repeated listening.
Tim Jackson, General Manager, Monterey Jazz Festival
Intricate arrangements with a lively sense of rhythm, this recording of Jon Gold's music is attractive and full of a palpable joie de vivre. You will be entertained for sure. -- Dave Liebman
Jon Gold brings a lifetime of rich, varied and eclectic musical influences to fruition on Brazil Confidential. By the time Jon was in high school, not only was he studying Bach and Chopin, he was becoming skilled in the keyboard music of composers such as Ravel, Janacek, and Poulenc. This early classical training continues to characterize his musical style to this day. Check out his Suite for Janacek #4 on this album.
Due to his insatiable appetite for new, stimulating music, Jon sought out jazz, and he became obsessed with the pyrotechnics and consummate style of Oscar Peterson. During the 1970s, he discovered John Coltrane. It is impossible to overstate Coltrane's profound influence on Jon. See if you can identify the homage to Coltrane's "Love Supreme" in the tune "Vitamin B" on this album! Jon also studied and learned virtually every recorded McCoy Tyner solo note-for-note. During college, Jon studied with saxophonist Joe Henderson, and regularly played with “Mugo” Eddie Gale, trumpeter with Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor.
In the 1980s, Jon’s life went in a completely different direction. After studying at Cornell University, he received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from UC, Santa Cruz. However, music remained his true passion. It was in the late 1980s that Jon first became aware of Brazilian music. Jon came into possession of the classic Sergio Mendes LP Equinox. Although the music was clearly “pop,” its groove was so infectious that he was powerless to resist.
He moved to Brazil, teaching chemistry at Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro. He learned Portuguese and established relationships with luminaries of Brazilian music such as A.C. Jobim and Hermeto Pascoal. The impact of living and playing in Brazil on Jon’s music has been profound. The result is this CD. You will find the tunes harmonically dense, playful, lush, poignant, joyous, imaginative, amusing, and sublime. The professional sound of the album is result of the masterful engineering of Scott “Scottinho” Anderson, who produced these sessions with obvious care and love.
Alem do Azul translates as "Beyond the Blue,” and refers to something like Coltrane talked about "the stars beyond the stars" both musically and spiritually. It is dedicated to Jon’s mother-in-law Esther, a "seeker" of the blue beyond the blue, the stars beyond the stars. Check the gorgeous Jorge Continentino flute solo and Zach Brock’s violin at the end!
Funky Jabour is Jon’s homage to Hermeto Pascoal, whose house was in a hot and funky suburb of Rio called Bairro Jabour. The band occupied a block of houses surrounding Hermeto’s home, and every day was “open rehearsal,” magical sessions in which any and all were welcome to play. Everyone on this tune plays their b*tts off: Andrew Sterman on flute, Anat Cohen on soprano, Bryan Murray on tenor, and Zé Mauricio on percussion and vocals.
Teresinha is a saint who lives in Jon’s house (Thérèse of Lisieux). Somehow this tune comes out as a smoking Partido Alto/Samba combo! Watch how the arrangement develops -- no trap drums in the beginning, a cool bass solo by Harvie S, and then the band comes in full force. Zé Mauricio on the berimbau keeps a great feel throughout, and the Hammond B3 and guitar give everything a certain spooky groove.
Carioca Da Clara The 5th Dimension-like (e.g., “Up Up and Away!”) or “Brady Bunch goes to Brazil” groove juxtaposed with the Sun Ra-inspired organ solo and the fade-out back to the beach is truly surreal!
Confissão started out on the anniversary of Jon’s father's passing. Luiz Ribeiro’s heartrending lyrics are beautifully interpreted by Tatiana Parra, a young and rising star out of São Paulo. Leah Siegel's background color vocals superbly complement Tatiana's melody. The ending is particularly poignant.
Singela was written by Jon after watching his wife Caroline napping on the couch one sunny winter afternoon. It is an informal homage to Luiz Ribeiro and his incredible ability to compose music that is so elegant --stripped of the all extraneous clutter. Katie Scheele’s lovely English horn solo creates a simple yet evocative mood.
Vitamin B Jon claims he was just “goofing around” when he wrote this one, but I am CRAZY about this tune! Bryan Murray’s sax solo and Scottinho’s brilliant arrangement make the whole thing cook.
Paraty is a small colonial town on a beautiful tropical bay a few hours south of Rio. This song is all about the mood: something to close your eyes and be transported to a beautiful place. Leah Siegel’s haunting vocals, Harvie’s bass, and Bryan Murray's quirky soprano solo at the end lend just the right atmosphere.
Originally composed for his band Caravana in the 1980s, Parafuso a Menos literally translates as "One Screw too Few," or perhaps "Having a Screw Loose.” Stellar solos by Anat Cohen (mini clarinet solo in beginning), Andrew Sterman on flute, Jon, and Zach Brock on violin.
Janacek Suite #4 - this tender and affecting piece conveys the profound remorse felt at having caused one’s beloved to shed tears.
Rapadura is an inexpensive sugarcane candy from the Northeast of Brazil. The tune pays homage to the people of that region, the land of the baião, forró and maracatú. Jorge Continentino’s soprano solo is extraordinary. The coda is a maracatú with the piano playing the agogo bell part at the end.
ParaZen: Leah Siegel brings an appealing edge to this atmospheric piece with her smoky-voiced vocals. Jon says the song is characterized by what is absent (i.e. the “zen”) more than what is present. Whatever its metaphysical implications, the song is distinguished by Lauren Riley Rigby’s beautiful cello line. -- Greg Hillis
All compositions: Jon Gold. Publisher and copyright for all compositions: Jon Stuart Gold Music (ASCAP). Lyrics on "Confissão": Luiz Ribeiro. Produced by Scott "Scottinho" Anderson. Recorded at Kaleidoscope Studios, Union City, NJ, Madureira Sound, Brooklyn, NY, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, November 2008 - June 2009. Mixed with technical assistance by Steve Rodby. Mastered at Universal Studios. Mastering by Seth Foster.
Sample of Mestre Acordeon used by permission of Ubirajara Gumaraes Almeida. CD cover concept, photography and package design: Jack Frisch. Executive producer: Joachim “Jochen” Becker.