Various Artists

Blue Note Plays Bossa Nova

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

If only this terrific triple-disc set would get released here in the States! EMI Italy digs into the Blue Note catalog for this rich assortment of samba and bossa tunes both old and new, revealing -- once again -- the seemingly endless wealth of material resting stealthily in the Blue Note vaults. Assembled aesthetically rather than chronologically, each disc is its own veritable mixtape featuring both nuggets and rather obscure takes on the great Brazilian art form. In other words, over these 45 cuts, you either have an entire afternoon's or evening's listen or a delightful, sensual, and breezy hour of delight ahead. Some of the many highlights on disc one include Willie Bobo's "Bossa Nova in Blue" and Lou Rawls' unlikely but effective "Girl from Ipanema," along with Duke Pearson's "Sandalia Dela." Then, shifting over to the second disc, one finds treasures such as the Jazz Crusaders' vintage read of "Ontem a Noite," pianist Eliane Elias' "Chega de Saudade," and Joe Henderson's "Blue Bossa." Meanwhile, disc three plays host to Peggy Lee singing "Little Boat," Jackie McLean's "Bluesanova," and Blossom Dearie's trademark version of "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars." In terms of contextual weight, the set makes a rather strong argument for bossa nova and samba being real pillars of jazz: they offer a very different body of standards in contrast to the overfished waters of the American Songbook, but these forms more often than not contains songs so well written that they become inspirations for improvisation and reinterpretation without losing their mystery or charm, in addition to providing structural forms for new compositions. Given that this is a rather inexpensive box, and doesn't rely on the masters themselves to "beef it up," it's almost impossible not to see it as somehow essential.

blue highlight denotes track pick