Like Nico, Astrud Gilberto's everywoman voiced has always had a polarizing effect on critics and fans alike. While her take on bossa nova is less than reverent and decidedly lightweight, the warmth and approachability she brings to each performance is stunning. Verve's lovingly compiled -- and blissfully affordable -- Astrud Gilberto's Finest Hour is as solid a collection of her heady mixture of samba, jazz and pop as you're likely to find. Twenty songs, including the classic "Girl From Ipanema," wash in like waves from the warmest of oceans, carrying with them the soft, reverb-drenched soundtrack to summer. If the tropical heat of "Berimbau," the lazy and lonely pulse of Burt Bacharach's "Trains and Boats and Planes" and the upbeat swing of "Wish Me a Rainbow" don't instantly take the drudgery of your day away, then consider yourself hopelessly bitter. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger
feat: Antônio Carlos Jobim