Throughout her 50 year career as one of Brazil’s most brilliantly imaginative artists, Joyce Moreno has thrived artistically in consistently undertakes new challenges. In the ‘70s she provoked controversy for singing in first-person feminine voice (never before attempted by any of the very few female songwriters in Brazil at the time) and her lyrics defied the censorship attempts of the Brazilian military dictatorship. After something of an epiphany, with Cool Joyce has finally agreed to take on a challenge repeatedly asked of her for the last two decades.
“For over 20 years I've been requested to make an album with North American jazz standards. Nothing against it, but I always said no. I had the strange feeling that such an album would look weird in my discography, too commercial – like I didn't have any new tricks up my sleeve, and yes, I always have plenty. Music has never ceased to bless me with new ideas and new tunes. So why on Earth should I embark on such a trip?
“The answer came to me during a soundcheck when I started playing, just for fun, a Cole Porter song in a different way. The song was ‘Love For Sale’ – a song about a demimondaine, a hooker, in short. But then this afoxe groove came up, and, all of a sudden, Cole Porter's call girl became a hooker from Bahia. And I thought, 'man, these tunes can be rearranged and be really fun!”
“To play these tunes with my guitar, re-harmonize them, find their possible different grooves, and make them mine. Not just turn them into ‘Brazilian bossas’ – which would be the obvious thing to do – but find the personality of each one of these songs, and dress them differently. This was how the hooker from ‘Love For Sale’ moved on to the streets of Salvador. ‘Let's Do It’, also a Cole Porter standard, with its percussive lyrics, turned into a syncopated samba. ‘Fever’ was re-harmonized as a typical ‘Joycean’ tune, with a different guitar tuning and drums played with Tutty Moreno's bare hands. ‘Banana Boat’, always treated as a happy work chant, had its profound sadness exposed (what can be more sad than people who ‘work all night on a drink of rum’?). ‘Invitation’, of course, had to be a very sensual tango. And so on.”. “There is also one original tune only here: my jazzy samba ‘Mingus, Miles & Coltrane’, a tribute to three of my personal jazz heroes, who inspired me a lot since I was a kid. Coltrane is also remembered here in my arrangement for ‘My Favourite Things’, inspired by his classic recording, but mixed with an improvised Jobim quote in the end.”
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