„The Bossa Nova is our pale blue planet that holds us together, even when we set off for other worlds, we always bring back what we have found to our Bossa Nova.“ (Liza da Costa)
Liza da Costa and Hotel Bossa Nova have added passed another milestone with their third album „Bossanomia“, in which the Wiesbaden jazz quartet has pushed more boldly than ever their very particular take on the Bossa Nova. The Portuguese-Indian singer and the three musicians Tilmann Höhn (guitar), Alexander Sonntag (string bass) and Wolfgang Stamm (drums and percussion) branch out in their compositions, as if they were tracing the fine veins of the brightly colored leaves decorating the cover of the new album. A harmony of human beings with themselves and with nature is in part the leitmotiv of this musical partnership of seasoned musicians, who now as instrumentalists have ascended to new heights. They create their own jazz universe in this album, melodically diverse, laced with filigree solos and emotional verve. The stylistically varied and emotionally compelling songs of „Bossanomia“, their first album for the famous jazz label Enja, present an intriguing weave of ideas and melodies, stories and feelings, and tempo and mood changes. An album with bewitching ballads („No tapete escaldante“), enchanting melodies („Passarinho“) and a way out suite. Liza da Costa and Hotel Bossa Nova have optimally positioned themselves for the international jazz charts and clubs with their electrifying contribution to the jazz scene.
Liza da Costa
Our music just inspires me; I love to play our own pieces, watching them grow from little melodies into full-fledged songs. The more complex, the better. I think that’s only possible in the constellation we have. We’re a simmering pot of music, with each of us adding his own experience – and dash of waywardness. I sometimes ask myself „But is it still Bossa Nova?“
But we always come back to our veta madre. The Bossa Nova is our pale blue planet that holds us together, even when we set off for other worlds, we always bring back what we have found to our Bossa Nova. And we’ve matured in the last two years, with each other and with our music. You can hear that on our latest CD.
Don’t fly to Rio if you don’t have. Or as far as I’m concerned, to New York, or Sydney. You won’t find anything there that you don’t already know. The H&M crowd, drinking Starbucks Coffee brewed from fastidiously normed laboratory controlled beans. Next door, an S.Oliver-Store, maybe it’s called GAP now, instead of a Hugendubel book store, a Barnes & Nobles and some our-prices-are-insane electronics outlet called Crazy Eddie. Everywhere the same offer, and the same packaging. I can’t look at this Photoshop reality any more. Everyone applying the cutting edge of technology for ever duller, more uniform ideas, which in turn are the justification for the evermore cutting edge technologies. The general perception of art and music is no different. Nothing too demanding, please. The popmusic and jazz scenes are devolving into trailers for the look-a-likes of the big city downtown areas. Just take a look at a lifestyle jazz magazine. Lifestyle? With a name like Hotel Bossa Nova, it would be easy to do what a lot of Bossa Nova acts do. I can see the programs: „the easy feeling of the Copacabana, a lounge, tropical cocktails and a light touch of Samba“. The norm, right? As a band, I hope that we have composed some songs which turn their backs on these unbearable clichés, and which make clear our perspective on the Bossa Nova genre. That would make me very happy.
The most interesting and challenging thing for me about HBN is the sound of a quartet that transports an actually very complex music, without sounding complicated. The 4 instrument orchestration requires a lot of attention to arrangement and production, because the 4 separate voices should have equal access to transmit the musical content. We have been working on this for 3 years. I tried in production to generate a mix which made the individual voices audible but still let a whole sound emerge, which did justice to the content, and the emotions of the pieces…After many concerts one acquires a feeling for how the band sounds together. My concern is to work for this sound. In the first approximation, it is about being natural, how the individual instruments sound and which role they assume in each song. We have worked very sparingly with overdubs, so that the independent band sound is not lost. And is has been good to have found a few friends, who have the time and inclination to work on this project and move it forward.
An account of my last 2 years on the road with Hotel Bossa Nova: Approximately 100 concerts later, around 30000 kilometers on the road(300 hours or a little less than two weeks sitting in a bus), and live contact with about 10000 listeners (or 100 groups of 100 attentive listeners). 80 poor night’s sleep, too late to bed, too much television (in hotel rooms). Last year our guitarist (Pedro) told me in no uncertain terms that I can’t authentically play Brazilian music, which is unfortunately true (I come from Biebrich on the Rhine and not Rio de Janeiro, the “Marvelous City”, but it still banged up my ego). And: Waiting, waiting, waiting… And ruminating over the list of reasons why HBN does not have that great, easy feel of a South Sea breeze…
But I like to play from my heart, the band is fabulous, and the reception our listeners give us is great. Success for me means being able to do what I love to do. And I can do that with Hotel Bossa Nova!