Say what you need about YouTube’s side effects (never-ending soy faces, influencers, its devious and fascist-leaning algorithms) but it surely has introduced to creators a area by which to indulge. And that’s one of the vital causes I’ve been a fan of Adam Neely’s paintings. A jazz musician and a former scholar at each the Berklee College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, his YouTube channel is a will have to for the ones with an hobby within the how and why of song principle. If no longer for Neely’s ability and YouTube’s platform we wouldn’t have the above: a 30 minute (!) exploration of the bossa nova usual, “The Girl from Ipanema.” And it’s price each and every unmarried minute. (Even the composer Antonio Carlos Jobim himself may just no longer have satisfied conventional tv pros to offer him that lengthy an indulgence.)
Seeings we haven’t featured Neely on Open Culture earlier than, let this be a nice creation, as a result of that is one in every of his higher movies. (Being caught within with out a jazz venues has given him extra time to create content material, certainly). It additionally is helping that the subject material simply occurs to be one of the lined requirements in pop historical past.
Its legacy is one in every of living room lizards and kitsch. Neely presentations it getting used as a punchline in The Blues Brothers and as temper song in V for Vendetta. I bring it to mind being hummed by two pepperpots (Graham Chapman and John Cleese) in a Monty Python skit (about 3:20 in). And Neely offers us the “tl;dw” (“too lengthy, did not watch”) abstract up entrance: the music’s historical past considerations blues song, American cultural hegemony, and the affect of the Berklee College’s “The Real Book.” There’s additionally a number of song principle thrown in too, so it is helping to understand simply a little entering into.
Neely first peels again a long time of elevator song covers to get to the delivery of the music, and its more than one oldsters: the Afro-Cuban song known as Samba, the hip nightclubs of Rio de Janeiro throughout the 1950s, the hit movie Black Orpheus which introduced each samba and bossa nova (the “new wave”) to a global target audience, Jobim and different musicians hobby in American blues and jazz chords, and American hobby from musicians like Stan Getz. All that is a backward and forward circuit of influences that end result on this music, which borrows its construction from Tin Pan Alley composers like Cole Porter and Irving Berlin, and inserts a unhappy, self-pitying B phase after two A piece lyrics about a younger lady passing via on a seashore (lyrics via Vinicius de Moraes, who additionally wrote the screenplay to Black Orpheus).
The key by which you play the music additionally finds the cultural divide. Play it in F and you take aspects with the Americans; play it in Db and you might be preserving it actual, Brazilian taste. Neely breaks aside the melody and the chord sequences, mentioning its repetition (which makes it so catchy) but in addition its ambiguity, and is the reason never-ending YouTube movies of musicians getting the chord collection incorrect. And, what precisely *is* the actual chord collection? And how is it a riff on, of all issues, Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train”? Neely additionally presentations the development of more than a few covers of the music, and what’s been added and what’s been deleted. Leaving issues out, as he illustrates with a clip from Leonard Bernstein’s 1973 Harvard lectures, is what offers artwork its magic.
There’s so a lot more to this 30 minute clip, however you truly will have to watch the entire thing (after which hit subscribe to his channel). This essay is precisely what YouTube does highest, and Neely is the most efficient of lecturers, a good, self-deprecating man who mixes mind with humor. Plus, you’ll be buzzing the music for the remainder of the day, simply a bit extra conscious about the rationale at the back of the ear trojan horse.
Ted Mills is a freelance author at the arts who lately hosts the Notes from the Shed podcast and is the manufacturer of KCRW’s Curious Coast. You too can apply him on Twitter at @tedmills, and/or watch his motion pictures here.