Bossa Nova Lounge, a two-part collection is a selection of rare
tracks with songs that most
people would be unfamiliar with.
Serious fans will appreciate the presence of many
from long-deleted albums. The
casual listener will enjoy its varied blend of songs.
The problem with most available bossa-nova
compilations is that except for cover art, they generally contain the
same performances of the usual hits, such as "The Girl From Ipanema" (usually the 1964 Getz/Gilberto version), "Off
Key" ("Desafinado") , or "No More Blues" ("Chega de Saudade").
Not that there is anything wrong with these songs, but one has to admit that this leaves few options for the admirers
of the jazzy Brazilian style who wish to expand their collections.
This is not the case of Bossa Nova
Lounge, a two-part collection by Dubas Musica. In this new release, Leonel
Pereda and Ronaldo Bastos (both renowned studio musicians in Brazil) chose to select rare tracks with songs that most people
would be unfamiliar with. The result is a highly interesting CD with a refreshing and sometimes surprising feel to them.
On the Corcovado CD, the only "standard" is Antonio Carlos Jobim’s "Quiet Night of Quiet Stars" ("Corcovado") ,
but here the producers opted for a rare 1963 instrumental rendition from one of the maestro’s first U.S. albums,
The Composer of Desafinado Plays.
One surprise is an early Jorge Ben recording of
Hô-Ba-La-La, an obscure João Gilberto composition. On this
version, Ben(who later rechristened himself Benjor) gives the song a more urban Rio de Janeiro feel, which faintly reminds us of
the blend of samba and funk that the popular singer/guitarist would pursue later in his career.
Another highlight is Eumir Deodato’s treatment of Jobim’s "One Note Samba" ("Samba de Uma Nota Só").
Deodato is a Brazilian musician who has long resided in the U.S., and he is well known for his work as a producer with Earth,
Wind and Fire.
In his version, he modernizes the song by adding further elements of modern jazz (think Chick Corea meets Nelson
Riddle) while respecting the melodic feel of the song as conceived by the song’s composer.
Jobim closes the album with a 1965 recording of "Samba do Avião" (The Airplane Samba), an ode to Rio do Janeiro
from the weary composer who felt homesick while spending too much time away from home:
Minha alma canta/ vejo o Rio de Janeiro/ Estou morrendo de saudade/ Rio, teu mar, praias sem fim/ Rio, você foi
feito para mim…
My soul sings/ I see Rio de Janeiro/ I miss you so much/ Rio, your sea, your endless beaches/ Rio, you were made
Incidentally, this track is from The Wonderful World of Antonio Carlos
Jobim, the Nelson Riddle-produced album that featured Jobim singing for the first time.
The CD Dreamer highlights Silvia Telles’ soulful rendition of the song in English.
"Dreamer" (Vivo Sonhando) is a
rare recording from her first U.S. album, The Music of Mr.
Another interesting track is Paul Desmond’s
"Faithful Brother," a song by Milton Nascimento taken from
Desmond’s 1969 album From the Hot Afternoon.
On this track, the American saxophone player plays alongside Brazilian drummer Airto Moreira and bassist Ron
Carter. The result is quite satisfactory, and in this song he doesn’t fall into the tired (if not silly) cliché of "an American
attempting to play Brazilian music".
"Coração Vagabundo" (Vagabond Heart) is a track from Caetano Veloso and Gal Costa’s debut album recorded as a
duet in the mid-sixties. The song (a Veloso composition) is delivered with a poignant sadness, which contrasts with its
Meu coração não se cansa de ter esperança/ De um dia ser tudo o que quer/ Meu coração de criança/ Não é só a
lembrança/ De um vulto feliz de mulher/ Que passou por meu sonho/ Sem dizer adeus/ E fez dos olhos meus um chorar mais sem
fim/ Meu coração vagabundo/ Quer guardar o mundo em mim…
My heart doesn’t get tired of hoping/ Of someday becoming all that it wants to be / My child’s heart/ Is no longer a
memory/ Of a happy figure of a woman/ That came in my dream/ and left without saying goodbye/ And made endless tears from
my eyes/ My vagabond heart/ Wants to keep the world in me…
Dreamer closes with Johnny Alf’s self-penned "Eu e o Crepúsculo" (Me and the Twilight), a beautiful song that
talks of a man who compares the early hours of the night with the sadness caused by a loss of a love that has gone and left
him with a meaningless song.
The Bossa Nova Lounge CDs are albums for those who appreciate the music of Brazil and who would like to know
a little more about its jazz-inspired samba. Serious fans will appreciate the presence of many hard-to-find tracks from
long-deleted albums. The casual listener will appreciate is varied blend of songs, which bring a relaxed feel which goes well
with a fine wine.
Ernest Barteldes is an ESL and Portuguese teacher. In addition to that, he is a freelance writer who has
regularly been contributing The Greenwich Village
Gazette since September 1999. His work has also been published by
Brazzil, The Staten Island Advance,
The Staten Island Register, The SI
Muse, The Villager, GLSSite and other
publications. He lives in Staten Island, NY. He can be reached at
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