Raul de Souza

Bossa Eterna

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"Whatever happened to Raul De Souza?" is a question that many admirers of the Brazilian trombonist found themselves asking in the 1980s and '90s. De Souza kept a very low profile during those decades, recording sporadically and doing little to promote himself. But in South America and Europe, De Souza experienced something of a comeback in the 2000s -- a decade that found him recording several new albums and doing a lot of touring. De Souza was 73 when, in March 2008, he entered a Rio de Janeiro studio with pianist João Donato, bassist Luiz Alves, and drummer Robertinho Silva and recorded Bossa Eterna. This Brazilian release was billed as a celebration of bossa nova's 50th anniversary -- it was in 1958 that the seminal João Gilberto first recorded "Chega de Saudade" -- although Bossa Eterna isn't bossa nova in the strict sense. Bossa nova (as executed by João and Astrud Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stan Getz, Luiz Bonfá, Charlie Byrd, and others in the '60s) was a gentle, introspective fusion of cool jazz and samba, and the melodic but swinging Bossa Eterna has more of a hard bop/samba outlook. Regardless, De Souza is in fine form on a 42-minute CD that ranges from three of his compositions ("Pingo D'Água," "A la Donato," and the title track) and three pieces that Donato wrote or co-wrote ("Fim de Sonho," "Malandro" and "Lugar Comum") to Jobim's "Bonita" and Baden Powell/Vinícius de Moraes' "Só por Amor." And Donato's presence is a major plus on Bossa Eterna, which isn't surprising when one considers that he has long been among Brazil's pianistic heavyweights. It's regrettable that De Souza kept such a low profile in the '80s and '90s, but the trombonist's longtime fans will be glad to know that his attractive lyricism is alive and well on this 2008 recording.

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