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From the Inside Out

Paradise in Brazil

By Published: March 18, 2003

Bossa Nova for Lovers

This compilation of seminal bossa nova puts forth the sound of classic, romantic Brazil using original recordings from the bossa nova jazz craze of the late 1960s from such artists as saxophonist Stan Getz, vocalist Astrud Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto, and others, all produced by Creed Taylor for the Verve label. The earliest track is “Bahia” from the Jazz Samba album Getz recorded with guitarist Charlie Byrd in 1962; the latest is Jobim’s 1967 big band version of “Wave” from the album of the same name, with Ron Carter on bass and Claus Ogerman as arranger and conductor. Taylor’s light, pristine production is simply perfect for such light, pristine music, and despite the passage of three decades since Taylor originally laid these tracks down, they maintain their warm luster. This sounds just great.

The voice of the original “Girl from Ipanema,” Astrud Gilberto is simply mesmerizing throughout this set (that “Girl” appears here in a sparklingly spry instrumental version featuring composer Jobim on piano and guitar, once more with Ogerman, from Jobim’s The Composer of “Desifinado” Plays album). She sounds so happy to be sad with longing for a distant lover in this penultimate version of Jobim’s “Meditation,” arranged and conducted by Marty Paich for The Astrud Gilberto Album. “Too soft to touch, but too lovely to leave alone,” from the lyric to “Misty Roses” ( Beach Samba ), describes Gilberto’s voice, too. You may never hear a more beautiful, voluptuous version of the classic “My Foolish Heart” than her version here with a big band arranged and conducted by Don Sebesky (also from Beach Samba ).

Getz collaborates with three different guitarists with uniformly beautiful results, opening this set with João Gilberto and teaming with the composer as pianist on Jobim’s “Vivo Sonhando (Dreamer)” (from Getz / Gilberto ); elegantly dancing through “Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars)” alongside guitarist Laurindo Almeida, among the first to explore the combination of traditional Brazilian rhythms with melodic instrumental jazz; and weaving together with Byrd a magical tapestry in “Bahia.”

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