Paulinho Garcia milks much from sheer simplicity. The liner notes state that he recorded Portrait in Black and White "as if I was in my own living room." Garcia succeeded. Accompanied by his Spanish guitar, this release is characterized by its overall openheartedness and cool intimacy.
His cozy voice travels through a well-trodden repertoire of Brazilian and jazz compositions singing in English and Portuguese with "Adiós mi Sueño" being the sole exception in Spanish. His slightly accented English and Spanish spices his renditions of "My Foolish Heart," "Bridges," "A Night in Tunisia," and even his own "My Very Life," with a decidedly familiar yet exotic aural flavor that adds to the listener's experience of such material.
When scatting, Garcia avails himself just fine, as shown by his return herein to "Take Five," "A Rã," "Você ja foi à Bahia?," "Adiós mi Sueño," "Lapinha" and "A Night in Tunisia." Said vocal technique complements his mid to lower range singing so well that you might not even notice he's not uttering words.
Of course, his interpretations in his sweetly, sensual and melodic native tongue are flawless. He is a very able and inviting vocalist who conveys the emotive impact of songs such as "A Felicidade," "Corcovado," the peppy "Lapinha" and the beautiful "Retrato em Branco e Preto" in quite an effective manner. In other words, this gato can sing.
Garcia is also an elegant, astute and sure-footed guitarist with as much technique as needed within the context at hand. Furthermore, he is used to enlarge his musical footprint and, when needed, he does so without artifices that would endanger the musical beauty herein. In other words, this gato can play.
This is a truly affectionate, calm and beautiful Brazilian release best suited for those who appreciate unadorned and unpretentious beauty for its own sake. It offers the invitation to join him in "Quiet nights of quiet stars. Quiet chords from my guitar..."
Personnel: Paulinho Garcia: guitar.