Alexandra Jackson's "Quiet Nights" -- Live from Blue Note Rio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
On November 28, 2017, Alexandra Jackson performed "Quiet Nights, Quiet Stars" at Blue Note Rio in Rio de Janeiro.
Jesse Sadoc: Trumpet
Joao Castilho: Guitar
Teo Lima: Drums
Marcelo Mariano: Bass
Andre Siqueira: Percussion
Marco Brito: Piano
David Feldman: Keyboards
"Corcovado" (known in English as "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars") is a bossa nova song written by Antônio Carlos Jobim in 1960. It is now considered a jazz standard. The Portuguese title refers to the Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro.
Artists recording this song have ranged from João Gilberto (1960), Cannonball Adderley (1962), Astrud Gilberto (1963), Sergio Mendes & Bossa Rio (1964), Doris Day and Henry Mancini (1965), Frank Sinatra and Antônio Carlos Jobim (1967) and Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim (1974) … to Ella Fitzgerald (1981), Art Garfunkel and Queen Latifah (2007), Diana Krall (2009), and Andrea Bocelli with Nelly Furtado (2013).
As one might imagine … there is a big story associated with this production.
Miles Davis and Gil Evans recorded this great Jobim song in 1962 as part of a follow up recording to their classic “Sketches of Spain.”
But, it didn’t work to the standards of the great Miles and Gil. So, they abandoned the Brazil project before its completion. They knew their concept for their classic “Sketches of Spain” was a labor of (Gil’s) love of Spanish music; and, quickly saw that “Quiet Nights” (“Corcovado’s English title) was a Brazilian “push”. Miles and Gil started doing “Sketches of Spain”-type arrangements … and it wasn’t working to their standard.
So, they stopped.
Moreover, Miles and Gil were recording before the famous November 1962 “Brazilian invasion” of Bossa Nova … signaled by the Carnegie Hall concert of that month. So, Miles and Gil’s version of “Corcovado” from the 1962 recording didn’t reflect Bossa Nova.
The album was released at beginning of 1964 ... as the record company later added songs to the project, and released the album as “Quiet Nights”.
In 2014, in planning “Legacy & Alchemy” … Executive Producer Robert Hebert called his friend Vince Wilburn, the all-world drummer, nephew of Miles Davis, and Executor of the great Miles’ estate. Robert actually was calling Vince to get the phone number for Phil Upchurch (legendary Chicago guitarist and artist) to invite him to join the "Legacy & Alchemy" project. When Robert told Vince what the project was about … Vince shocked Robert by suggesting “Rob … why don’t you take one of Miles’ tunes? Any track you want … maybe something from Kind of Blue or Sketches of Spain.”
Robert likes to share that, at first, he fell speechless, and that he has never really directly responded to Vince — as the implications of that offer were and are as meaningful as anything he could imagine. Be that as it may, the only song that made sense was “Corcovado” … the Jobim classic from the 1962 Miles Davis “Quiet Nights” album.
So, eventually, this was the song chosen from the Miles catalog.
LEGACY - Part 1
So, working with Vince and Darryl Porter of Miles Davis Properties and SONY Legacy Recordings … Robert and track Producer/Arranger LARRY WILLIAMS received the Miles Davis horn track of “Corcovado” from the Sony archives. The 1962 “Quiet Nights” recording was only 3 tracks … with Miles and bassist Paul Chambers on Track 2. Project Lead Tracking Engineer Erik Zobler was able to take a MP3 of that track and filter the Miles Davis horn from the track.
Then, as preparations were being made for the late April 2015 tracking in Rio de Janeiro, Larry Williams was working around the clock to prepare 7 of his 8 arrangements to be recorded the very next week. Robert suggested to Larry that, as they were working with the best Brazilian cats on the planet, let them offer suggestions to get things started. Indeed, Arthur Maia suggested a groove and Ricardo Silveira offered a “Joao Gilberto would have done this” idea as a song Intro.
From there, master Arranger Larry Williams gathered the Brazilian musicians around an Acoustic Piano on a Sunday afternoon at Visom studio in Rio de Janeiro to craft a classic Bossa Nova rhythm arrangement based on the ideas submitted and his ideas he had developed while he flew from LA to Rio… These were the ideas to be recorded that night at Visom around the Melody lines that Alexandra Jackson would sing as vocalist, and Miles Davis played over 50 years ago. On the latter point … this was exceedingly difficult for Larry to do with the musicians, as Robert had given his word to the Miles Davis family that Miles’ involvement would remain a secret until they could approve the outcome of the track.
So, Larry had to craft a rhythm arrangement with musicians who could not hear / nor even know about the essential Miles Davis contribution.
Of course, Larry got it done.
The outcome of that night at Visom, and the production itself is not about sampling. The track is about master producers and arrangers working with performances present and past (with the blessing of 2 great families) – and having been given the opportunity to envision and endeavor to complete an artistic circle started over 50 years before.
LEGACY - Part 2
The first back story to be told was that Robert, Oscar Castro-Neves and Ivan Lins discussed a similar Brazilian concept project in 2012. Reflecting back on those project discussions, Hebert and Larry reached out to Ivan again to appear on "Corcovado" -- alongside Miles Davis. The second back story was that in summer 1991 (in the months leading up to Miles’ untimely passing), Ivan and Miles were discussing doing an album together (ironically, while Ivan was visiting at Larry's home in LA). And, here ... Robert and Larry conceptually saw "Corcovado" as a chance for Robert and Ivan to complete both the Oscar and Miles circles.
And, with Larry on-board ... Ivan agreed.
Our version was produced and arranged by Larry Williams – recorded in April 2015 by Larry Williams, Arthur Maia, Ricardo Silveira, Teo Lima, and Armando Marcal. Later ... we added the great Robertinho Silva on drums (alongside Teo), who happens to be Vince Wilburn’s favorite drummer.
The music has obvious Brazilian elements. And, again, as with the whole album … we embrace Brazilian music, but add definite American touches in the vocals. The “LEGACY” is the song and Miles. The “ALCHEMY” is Ivan and Alexandra, and what these wonderful musicians collaborated to do … which was to try to complete what Miles started in 1962, without changing what Miles did.
But, we were not finished. After Ivan finished recording his vocal performance in June 2015, he turned to Robert and said: “I assume Larry has an Orchestra arrangement under what I just did.” And, indeed … there was a plan. Robert formed a Brazil orchestra (he named The Bossa Nova Noites Orquestra) specifically to record 6 charts for the album. And, in March 2016, Larry arranged and conducted his Orchestra chart.
Our version of the song is sung by Alexandra in both Portuguese and English — with Ivan Lins adding his iconic voice. Alexandra and Ivan recorded theirvocals in Rio de Janeiro; and the Backing Vocals were recorded by Alexandra’s dream team of Chris Walker, Darryl Tookes and Curtis King in New Jersey. The Vocals were crafted by Ivan and American vocalists Chris Walker, Darryl Tookes and Curtis King, with the brilliant Brazilian Paula Santoro and Darryl coaching Alexandra’s Portuguese-English "Corcovado" vocal performance. Finally ... Robert produced the English "Quiet Night" alternate lead vocal himself for the special single release in September 2018.
Then came Antonio Carlos Jobim.
We thought we were done; but, on a Sunday afternoon in April 2016, Robert and Daniel Jobim were having a conversation about the project. Daniel suddenly said: “You know Robert … we have a track of my grandfather (Antonio Carlos Jobim) singing 'Corcovado'..."
Having a flashback to the 2014 conversation he had with Vince Wilburn … this time Robert didn’t hesitate. He got the track from Daniel, and then Larry was able to separate the Tom Jobim vocal track and get it to multiple GRAMMY-winning Engineer Moogie Canazio. Working with Larry, Moogie was able to place Jobim singing part of a verse between two Miles Davis sections.
Implicitly … this became a game-changer.
We could not imagine a better "Alchemy” created by the collaborations of all of these musicians – from Alexandra to Miles and Tom, to Ivan and Larry, to Vince and Daniel, to Ricardo, Robertinho, Teo, Arthur, Marcal and Erik, to Darryl, Chris and Curtis ... and to Moogie, Robert and The Bossa Nova Noites Orquestra.
.... Legacy and Alchemy.
The song is billed as “ALEXANDRA JACKSON featuring MILES DAVIS, with ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM & IVAN LINS”
ALEXANDRA JACKSON: Lead vocal
Guest Stars: Miles Davis, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Ivan Lins
Larry Williams: Producer, Arranger, Keyboards, Piano, Orchestra Conductor
Ivan Lins, Robert Hebert, Chris Walker and Darryl Tookes: Vocal Producers
Miles Davis: Trumpet
Antonio Carlos Jobim: Vocals
Ivan Lins: Vocals
Ricardo Silveira: Acoustic Guitar
Arthur Maia: Bass
Armando Marcal: Percussion
Teo Lima: Drums
Robertinho Silva: Drums
Backing Vocals: Darryl Tookes, Chris Walker and Curtis King
The Bossa Nova Noites Orquestra (Concertmaster: Ricardo Amado / Orchestra Engineer: Duda Mello)