John Pizzarelli makes bossa the boss


John Pizzarelli Daniel Jobim
John Pizzarelli plays the Cafe Carlyle with Daniel Jobim, bringing the warmer vibes of Brazilian bossa nova to a city that still feels wintry. / Provided

In the intimate room at the Cafe Carlyle, it’s almost possible to forget that winter is taking so long to go away. Guitarist John Pizzarelli presents an evening of “Strictly Bossa Nova,”  sharing the stage with Daniel Jobim, grandson of the Brazilian music legend (and founding father of bossa nova) Antonio Carlos Jobim. Drummer Duduka Da Fonseca and pianist Helio Alves round out the Brazilian delegation, along with Pizzarelli’s brother Martin on bass, who “hails from exotic Patterson, New Jersey” according to his warm introduction.

Between songs, Pizzarelli tells the stories behind the music, easily invoking the tone of Brazilian nostalgia, known as “saudade,” that pervades songs like “Aguas de Março” and “Amoroso.” Jobim occasionally  jumps in with his own star-studded lore, describing, shyly, the time Frank Sinatra called his grandfather at a bar to invite him to sing on what became the 1979 “Sinatra-Jobim Sessions.”

After over 50 years and myriad interpretations of songs like “Garota de Ipanema” and “Agua de Beber,” one would think that the gentle syncopation would get old. But the trick of timeless music is that it has the ability to transport audiences to a different time and place. It’s safe to say that after shrugging off coats and peeling off hats and scarves in the end of March, there’s almost no better place to transport oneself to than a Brazilian beach.

If you go:

John Pizzarelli featuring Daniel Jobim
Through March 29
Cafe Carlyle
35 E. 76th St.


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