John Pizzarelli: Bossa Nova (2004)
Warm and gentle, John Pizzarelli’s latest release, Bossa Nova , takes you on an affectionate, musically articulate, and eventually exasperatingly quaint tour of bossa nova’s Brazilian heritage.
Not surprisingly, Bossa Nova features several Antonio Carlos Jobim compositions, including a gracefully mature rendition of “The Girl From Ipanema,” the cleverly arranged “So Danço Samba,” and an insightful version of “Aguas De Marco” which beautifully accentuates the subtle balance between humor, tenderness, and profundity that defines the original’s lasting power. Other selections of note include Bruno Martino’s contemplative “Estate” and the album highlight, Stephen Sondheim’s evocative “I Remember.”
Unfortunately, less successful pieces such as “One Note Samba” and “Desafinado” suffer from an overly earnest delivery that effectively negates the careful wit of Jobim’s originals, and the sincerity-saturated “Your Smiling Face,” “Fascinating Rhythm,” and “Love Dance” also detract from the album’s overall appeal.
An album of mixed results, Bossa Nova contains several moments of brilliance which show the power and possibilities of bossa nova as a form, as well as an equal number of moments that will make you wince. Draw the curtains, turn down that mood lighting, and open a bottle because you’ll definitely need a drink for this: either a blush or straight bourbon, depending on your constitution.
Track Listing: 1. One Note Samba 2. Fascinatin' Rhythm 3. The Girl From Ipanema 4. Your Smiling Face 5. Estate 6. Desafinado 7. Aquelas Coisas Todas 8. I Remember 9. Francesca 10. Love Dance 11. So Dan
Personnel: John Pizzarelli: Guitar and Vocals; Ray Kennedy: Piano; Martin Pizzarelli: Bass; Paulinha Braga: Drums; Jim Saporito: Percussion; Cesar Camargo Mariano: Piano; Harry Allen: Tenor Sax; Daniel Jobim: Background Vocals Chiara Civello: Background Vocals. with String Quartet, Flute Quartet.