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BossaBrasil Festival: New York City, NY, May 20, 2011

Ernest Barteldes By
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Marcos Valle, featuring Wanda Sa
Bossa Brazil Festival
Birdland,
New York, NY
May 19, 2011

The 2011 edition of the BossaBrasil festival at New York's Birdland featured bossa nova-era alum Marcos Valle, a keyboardist/vocalist who appeared in the 2010 edition as the guest of singer Emilio Santiago. Backed by a solid band, featuring trumpeter Jesse Sadoc, bassist Sergio Brandao and drummer Renato Basa, Valle kicked off the set with his instrumental, "Estatica," a heavily syncopated tune that gave him the opportunity to showcase his improvisational skills. "Summer Samba," one of his most recognizable hits, immediately followed, with Valle singing in both English and Portuguese, and sharing solos with Sadoc, who added a flurry of notes to its laidback groove.

The band was augmented by backup singer Patricia Alv (Valle's wife), for a performance of "Nao Tem Nada Nao," co-written with arranger/keyboardist Eumir Deodato, who was in attendance. Sadoc was featured, adding an accomplished solo that played against the tune's samba backbeat. New York-based tenor saxophonist Jorge Continentino joined the lineup and Wanda Sza took to the stage, kicking off her segment with Roberto Menescal's "Vagamente," sung as a close duet between with Valle.

Valle and Alvi then left the stage, as Sa led the group through two Antonio Carlos Jobim tunes, "Water to Drink" and "One Note Samba," played with a funkier form closer to her days with Sergio Mendes's group than with bossa. Valle then returned and shared a close duet with only piano and voice on Gilberto Gil's gentle ballad, "Eu Preciso Aprender a Ser So."

The entire group returned to the stage for Jobim's "So Danco Samba," which featured a dexterous solo from Brandao, and the set closed with an extended version of "Summer Samba," this time with Sa, Valle and Alvi sharing the lyrics.

The 67 year-old Valle remains in great form. He demonstrated great chemistry with Sa and the other musicians. The musical choices were a careful blend of past and current music, making for a very satisfying evening.

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