:: These reviews were originally published
:: in Daniella Thompson on Brazil.


Elis & Tom, Special Edition 2004

To buy or not to buy?

Daniella Thompson

1 September 2004

The protagonists

Here’s a recording that needs no introduction or persuasion of any kind. The legendary Elis & Tom, recorded 30 years ago, is on every Brazilian music lover’s desert-island list, often in the number-one position.

The story of the recording is also well known. In 1974, Elis Regina celebrated ten years at Phonogram (Philips’ record division). She had been very good for the record company, and her reward was a trip to Los Angeles, to record with Tom Jobim.

On 2 February 1974, Elis and then-husband Cesar Camargo Mariano flew to LA. With them came Elis’ son João Marcello Bôscoli (now president of Trama), producer Aloysio de Oliveira (the eternal mediator between Brazil and USA), and musicians Hélio Delmiro (guitar), Luizão (bass), and Paulo Braga (drums).

The recordings took place between 22 February and 9 March. Tom wasn’t enamored of the idea of Cesar writing the arrangements and playing electric piano, but he put up with both, although he would have preferred Claus Ogerman and acoustic piano. Aloysio saw to it that Elis and Tom got through the recording sessions without walking out or sending each other to hell.

Among the musicians who participated in the recordings without being given credit in the original LP were guitarist Oscar Castro Neves, flutist Hubert Laws, and saxofonist Jerome Richardson, as well as the now forgotten session strings—two violins, two violas, a cello and a bass.

Thirty years later, Cesar Camargo Mariano spent three months remixing the epocal 8-track tapes in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound. The new edition includes a stereo CD and a DVD-Audio. In content they are identical, with the exception of a bonus of “Fotografia” (alternate take) and “Bonita”—available, disappointingly, only on the DVD.

And there’s the rub: to buy or not to buy?

Most of us already have a serviceable copy of Elis & Tom. Whether most of us have a DVD player with 5.1 surround-sound speakers I can’t say. I don’t. The only DVD player (rarely used, I might add) in my possession resides on my trusty old Mac G4 Cube. It plays only DVD-Video.

That leaves the CD, whose sound is nothing short of glorious. Glorious, but without the bonus recordings. It’s one of those irritating marketing ploys. How many people (not counting the diehard Elis fans, of whom there must be several legions) will want to pay for a DVD-CD combo when their equipment is capable of playing only the CD (glorious sound and all)?

It’s wonderful to know that a superior version is available. But until the rest of us are sufficiently equipped, Philips and Trama would be well advised to bring out a stand-alone CD that includes the bonus track.

The good news is that Trama is currently hard at work on the DVD-Video edition of Elis & Tom. That disc promises to feature films from various sources.

Elis Regina & Antonio Carlos Jobim: Elis & Tom
Special Edition including DVD-Audio & CD
(Philips/Trama 874-5; 2004) CD: 41:42 min.; DVD: 49:25 min.

01. Águas de Março (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
02. Pois É (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Chico Buarque)
03. Só Tinha de Ser com Você (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Aloysio de Oliveira)
04. Modinha (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)
05. Triste (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
06. Corcovado (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
07. O que Tinha de Ser (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)
08. Retrato em Branco e Preto (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Chico Buarque)
09. Brigas, Nunca Mais (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)
10. Por Toda a Minha Vida (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)
11. Fotografia (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
12. Soneto de Separação (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinicius de Moraes)
13. Chovendo na Roseira (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
14. Inútil Paisagem (Antonio Carlos Jobim/Aloysio de Oliveira)

DVD bonus
      Fotografia (Antonio Carlos Jobim) alternate version
      Bonita (Antonio Carlos Jobim)


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