News comes of the death of Oscar Castro-Neves, one of the leading guitarists to emerge from Brazil’s bossa nova movement. As samba music moved north in the 1960s and became a powerful element in US popular music and jazz, Castro-Neves was an important player, coach, producer and catalyst. After hearing him at Seattle’s Jazz Alley with pianist Kenny Werner and harmonicist Toots Thielemans in 2005, I wrote:
Thielemans and Werner, long established as a formidable duo, became a virtual chamber orchestra with the addition of Castro-Neves’ guitar. There were moments at Jazz Alley when the piano, guitar and harmonica melded into chords so expansive and deep, it seemed impossible that they came from only three instruments. The authenticity of Castro-Neves’ Brazilian rhythms and bossa nova spirit were an essential part of the set’s air of happiness.
Here is Castro-Neves on the Ramsey Lewis PBS show, also in 2005, on the occasion of his friend and collaborator Ivan Lins winning two Grammys. He plays and sings Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Waters of March.”
Go here for all of that Rifftides review. Read an obituary in The Los Angeles Times.