Intimacy in music is often missed these days. True, heart-opening, soul-caressing intimacy - the one that can't stand the sight of a superficial connection - is mostly gone. We find plenty of validation seeking artists, lost in the physicality of the expression of their artistry, slaves to the naked eye - empty of clear blue skies and starry nights, empty of true self confidence, empty of the very reason why music was created for to begin with. It is now viewed mainly as a sexual circus, disguised in freedom of creativity. But where do we find the artist's very soul? Is it in a naked pair of thighs, a see-through outfit, and swaying hips? Is it in the chiseled, tattooed chests of their male equivalents? Auto-tuned voices, repetitive lyrics, and mostly provocative videos are being mass produced, numbing our innate ability to feel - feel loved, feel moved, feel encouraged, feel celebrated. Now we are told to find a spot in a box, and make ourselves home there. And if we are not careful, music becomes just that: a box. One size. One color. One sound. But music - MUSIC - was meant to be everything that laid outside of any confinement. A true warrior. A freedom vindicator. A love writer.
That being said, how do you suppose listening to Paulinho Garcia feels like? He is like a unicorn. There is no rush in his music. No overproduced sounds. No afflicted vocals. No abandoned truths. He picks up his guitar, and by the time he opens his mouth, his vocal chords already know how and when to come together and kiss you on the cheek. This Brazil born artist is the reason why I still dream of my one radio show that will fill the radio waves in the middle of the night, bringing sounds like these to the weary, making everything alright.
This is Garcia's 5th solo album - 22nd since 1979. Recorded in January of this year, this is a project where absolutely nothing is wasted. Alternating compositions by Dave Brubeck or Vinicius De Moraes with his own, every track was carefully crafted and beautifully envisioned in an all-acoustic heart pounding experience - Paulinho's way. Whether he is rapidly scatting his emotions away - "Tristeza/ A Voz de Morro" - with a Samba, or paying tribute to an immortal Gershwin with "Embraceable You", the one thing that always seems clear is that this is a man that understands compassion, and beauty, and truthfulness - in life and in music. And listening to him always feels like an undeserved moment of greatness - as if he is too pure for our intimacy-lacking ears. And yet there he is, making himself being heard, and felt - truly, truly felt - and definitely loved. A reminder of what musical sensitivity is all about.
"Take Five" takes my breath away. And so do also "Cintura Fina", "Bolero de Sata", "How do you keep the music playing?", "Adeus Meus Sonhos Adios Mis Suenos" or "There'll never be another you". But please, don't take my word for it: listen to this impeccable record on your own. Get comfortable, dim all lights, and let Garcia feed your spirit with the most delicate sounds you could possible imagine.
Intimacy will not be avoided. And everybody will keep their clothes on.