Music reaches down to the deepest, most private corners of one's soul and parks its whole universe there, with all its beautiful colors, no clouds in sight and the softest winds ever known to man, that carry the notes and any vocal majesties twirling around together in pure ecstasy, and gently land them in the heart of the listener.
If you have that picture in your head right now, you may be able to imagine what Beautiful Love sounds like.
Serene. Sweet. Bewitching. Sophisticated: Chicago-based, Brazilian-born, vocalist and guitarist Paulinho Garcia meets all of those superlative attributes with an astounding fragility. A voice caressed by the ever-lasting bossa nova's intimacy, with its phrasing, its romantic and sensitive yearning — and the guitar in perfect harmony with it all.
I am in love with this record. I actually felt my heart grow bigger and brighter listening to Beautiful Love, issued via Jazzmin Records.
From Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius De Moraes, to Toots Thielemans, Jimmy Van Heusen, or Lionel Bart — Garcia turned each of the delicate songs on this album into new masterpieces of pure magic.
My extremely hard-to-choose track picks:
–"Bluesette": A delicious take on this Thielemans/Gimbel song. Garcias's scat is alive and entrancing, almost like a fairy tale.
–"Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar (I Know I'm Going to Love You)": The reason why Brazil is at the top of musical sentimentalism is right here, in this song and in the way he sings it. As a guitarist, he is a dream come true.
–"Where is Love": To find the words to describe this one is practically impossible. The vocal feeling, the rhythm kept under wraps by that guitar, the lyrics. It truly makes the soul go "Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh!"
–"Like Someone in Love": A song we have heard thousands of times — but never like this. Simply beautiful.
–"I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now": Written by Joseph E. Howard and Harold Orlob. The sadness, the broken heart, the memories haunting the lyrics. Garcia becomes a poet that sings without holding a single feeling back.
This is a album filled with kindess and gentleness. An album that was — like he told me as part of the following exclusive SER Sitdown — recorded while he was feeling very calm. Relax, and fall in love, because this is, indeed, beautiful ...
ESTHER BERLANGA-RYAN: Where do you think love is?
PAULINHO GARCIA: Hidden in one's heart, shown in one's actions.
ESTHER BERLANGA-RYAN: What is Beautiful Love?
PAULINHO GARCIA: A collection of standards, where the lyrics tell of the good and bad of being in love — what simply just represents life.
ESTHER BERLANGA-RYAN: Tell me about your journey.
PAULINHO GARCIA: I've been a kid, a dreamer, for 65 years. I've been a son and father. As a son, I enjoyed the security offered by my home and tried many ways to become my own man. I studied physics, electric engineering, played soccer, drums, bass, guitar and sung. As a father, I tried to be like my father, my hero, and made of my family my No. 1 priority, with music following alongside. Every stone I found on the way was used to build a solid road.
ESTHER BERLANGA-RYAN: How would you paint a picture with words about what this album means to you?
PAULINHO GARCIA: Beautiful Love is love stories, inevitably lived or imagined by the composers, and hopefully well kept and passed along by this romantic troubadour.
ESTHER BERLANGA-RYAN: The songs — please, tell me about them.
PAULINHO GARCIA: The lyrics touch me but also the melodies. I choose them for their effect on my own person and I sung them as they were my own.
ESTHER BERLANGA-RYAN: What matters to you most, artistically?
PAULINHO GARCIA: Show my nature, and hope it will please many.
ESTHER BERLANGA-RYAN: And personally?
PAULINHO GARCIA: Be of help. Nothing makes me happier than see someone happy.
ESTHER BERLANGA-RYAN: Who is Paulinho Garcia today?
PAULINHO GARCIA: The same one of 50 years ago, with more experience. My fingers and my voice now responds better and are more in sync with my thoughts.
ESTHER BERLANGA-RYAN: Why do you sing?
PAULINHO GARCIA: Because life always ends up as a song. One can sing hate or love, I choose love — because I can't see life any different.
ESTHER BERLANGA-RYAN: Your guitar. Do you become music, or music becomes you?
PAULINHO GARCIA: Music comes from inside — like poets, artists, or any craft that one do to keep life going. My guitar, my voice are my tools, you can't separate the two when showing the true me. When I listen, I become music, when I play music becomes me.
ESTHER BERLANGA-RYAN: English, Spanish, Portuguese — what is the language of love to you?
PAULINHO GARCIA: Love has no language. You can feel it in the wave it creates. You can speak of love. even in Martian.
ESTHER BERLANGA-RYAN: What would you like for others to take away from Beautiful Love?
PAULINHO GARCIA: Their own stories, emotions, memories, life. I was calm and peaceful when I recorded it, so I wish you are calm and peaceful when you listen to it.
Esther Berlanga-Ryan, Something Else Reviews