Friday, August 07, 2009

In Memoriam Jacob

Next week choro societies and choro musicians in Brazil and the rest of the world will commemorate the sad fact that it is 40 years since the passing away of Jacob Pick Bittencourt, aka Jacob do Bandolim (February 14, 1918 – August 13, 1969). Like Pixinguiha, Jacob do Bandolim has become an icon in the field of choro representing the best in this Brazilian music tradition. Jacob's achievements as a musician, composer and spokesman in favour of the virtues of the original music tradition in Brazil, notable the choro, are beyond the possibility of describing justly in a few words here. If you are new to choro and the tradition of this important musical field of Brazilian culture, one of the main figures representing these aspects in headlines certainly will be Jacob do Bandolim. A short biography and career profile is available by clicking here .

For extensive and detailed information on the legacy of Jacob do Bandolim I'll point serious readers to the website of Instituto Jacob do Bandolim that has maintained a magnificent work to preserve and inform about all relevant issues regarding Jacob (- in Portuguese only, unfortunately). - Another Brazilian resource web, Músicos do Brasil, also has detailed and relevant info on Jacob do Bandolim.

The obvious way to commemorate an artist like Jacob do Bandolim is to play his music, of course. I found an uploaded video at YouTube showing still photos from the life and career of Jacob, the accompanying sound track includes Jacob's voice and the title track audio of his best selling album, "Vibrações" from 1967, featuring Jacob and Época do Ouro

Since Jacob's passing away choro has had a great revival in Brazil and countless musicians have refined their skills and drawn inspiration from the music of Jacob do Bandolim. Below I'll insert a couple of video fragments showing that the legacy of Jacob lives on and is taken good care of by devoted musicians. - First, here's a rendition of the choro "Diabinho Maluco" perfomed by Joel Nascimento - Bandolim; Maurício Carrilho - Violão 6 Cordas; Luiz Otávio Braga - Violão 7 Cordas; Jayme Moraes - Cavaquinho from a Brazilian TV program paying tribute to Jacob do Bandolim (- probably from the mid-1970s)

The most famous composition by Jacob do Bandolim probably is his "Noites Cariocas", here performed by Hamilton de Holanda (bandolim) from a live recording at Radio America recently

One of the great achievements by Jacob was to put the bandolim into the spotlight as a solo voice in choro, his recordings point listeners to the high level of performance demanded from both the soloist and the accompanying musicians. However, performers of other instruments than the bandolim also have drawn inspiration from the playing of Jacob. Here's an example of the young virtuoso of the violão, Alessandro Penezzi, performing Jacob's "Velhos Tempos" in great interplay with arranger and pianist, Laércio de Freitas, from a TV hommage to Jacob do Bandolim

Finally, as an amateur guitarist I was thrilled to view a solo guitar interpretation of Jacob's "Noites Cariocas" by Daniel Nikolas Wirtz from a live performance, a great arrangement and execution of the tune to end this small commemoration of Jacob do Bandolim