CountyAnne Arundel County
MSAC Individual Artist Award (IAA)2017
Having participated in choir activities as a child, ]onathan Stone went on to encounter the polyphonic vocal music of the Renaissance and Baroque eras in high school, performing in a capella vocal ensembles over the next twelve years. The stylistic imperatives of polyphonic vocal music, voice leading, accurate pitch and rhythmic precision, were carried on to subsequent areas of exploration.
Since the mid-1980's, Stone's primary focus has been on the performance of mid-twentieth century Brazilian song, which he refers to as "Art Samba" rather than the marketing term "bossa nova."
Complex issues of cultural appropriation arise when considering the reception of the music of one culture (here, Brazil) in another (America and its Jazz traditions). In the 1960's, undoubtedly brilliant results were obtained, to a great degree of commercial success, by West Coast arrangers and such artists as Stan Getz, Gary Burton, etc. However, Stone feels, the true essence of this music, its minimalistic simplicity, the notion that "less is more" and "If you can't take it to the beach, it isn't Bossa Nova" may have been unfortunately left behind- It is this unadorned beauty of conception, a refusal to "gild the lily" that guides Stone's performance practice. What can be done with one guitar and one voice? This also tallies with his concern for intimate, low-volume performances which attempt to minimize the alienating performer/audience dynamic established by commercial considerations.
"Samba was a place I found where all the different things I loved in different kinds of music converged. Well-crafted and extended melodic forms, informed by Chopin, Faure and Debussy, innovative harmony, shown new freedoms by Jazz, a new, poetically literate approach to words and music together, all filtered through a bohemian aesthetic (tropicalismo!) which might not even notice it lost its wristwatch sometime last week."
"The real thing"- Charlie Byrd
"The best there is"- Gene Bertoncini