Astrud Gilberto

Beach Samba

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One of Gilberto's less impressive '60s Verve outings, primarily due to the more pop-oriented song selection. Much of this is just standard pleasant Gilberto: offhand vocals and a sumptuous Brazil pop-cum-U.S. orchestration feel (Ron Carter and Toots Thielemans are among the sidemen). And some of the pop choices work well, particularly Tim Hardin's gorgeous "Misty Roses." No vocals or arrangements, however, could save the criminally wrong-headed military march of "A Banda (Parade)," or the exasperatingly coochie-coochie duet between Gilberto and her six-year-old son on the Lovin' Spoonful's "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice." Which makes it all the more surprising when the next and concluding track, "Nao Bate O Corocao," has Gilberto cutting loose with confident, sassy scats, as she rarely did before or since. The CD reissue improves matters by adding five bonus cuts from A Certain Smile a Certain Sadness, recorded in 1966 in more authentically bossa nova-style arrangements, anchored by organist Walter Wanderley.

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