Paul Desmond's first genuine all-Brazilian album under the Creed Taylor signature was a beauty, a collection of songs by the then-moderately known Edu Lobo and the emerging giant Milton Nascimento, then only in his early twenties. All Desmond has to do is sit back and ride the Brazilian grooves while lyrically ruminating on whatever pops into his head. It sounds so effortless -- until you try it yourself. The swirling, often gorgeous orchestral arrangements are by Don Sebesky (one CD edition mistakenly gives Claus Ogerman credit on the cover), Airto Moreira leads the samba-flavored percussion forces, and Lobo and his wife Wanda de Sah appear on three of Lobo's four songs. Lobo's "To Say Goodbye," "Circles," and "Martha and Romao" have exactly the brand of wistful sadness that Desmond could communicate so well; on the former, de Sah has to sing well below the register with which she is comfortable, and the strain is painfully obvious. Some of Nascimento's best early tunes are here, including the tense title track, the popping "Catavento," and "Canto Latino." "Catavento" inspires a particularly inventive solo from Desmond where he pulls out one of his age-old tricks, quoting "St. Thomas." This 2000 Verve "By Request" edition adds no less than six alternate takes to the package.
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AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell