Evolving out of the jazzy end of samba, bossa nova is one of Brazil's great gifts to the world, and this compilation of duets opens with probably the most famous bossa ever written, "The Girl From Ipanema." (Which is actually a trio of João and Astrud Gilberto with saxophonist Stan Getz, but who's counting?) Bossa's really creative heyday was the 1960s, and the majority of these cuts date from that period, although a few later pieces snake in, such as "Águas de Março," a pleasant if slightly showbizzy cut from Elis and Tom. But there's plenty of delicate beauty to be found on this set, such as "So Nice (Summer Samba)," probably best known in its Bebel Gilberto version, although this original, from Marcos and Anamaria Valle, offers a kind of kitsch, cocktail-party charm. Quite justly, Tom Jobim, the father of bossa nova, features on several tracks, the best being the airy "Saudade da Bahia," which teams him with the superb Dorival Caymmi, and "Anos Douarados," a duet with Chico Buarque, where the lines are lovingly thrown away in gorgeous fashion. Jobim also penned "Falando de Amor," which receives a romantic treatment from Quarteto em Cy and MPB-4. All in all, this is a very satisfying introduction to the style.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson