Various Artists

Bossa Jazz: The Birth of Hard Bossa, Samba Jazz and the Evolution of Brazilian Fusion 1962-73

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Elenco wasn't notable only for the packaging and design of its album covers -- a strident black-and-white color scheme, leavened only by occasional reds and grays. The label also produced most of the best Brazilian music of the mid-'60s, that fertile time just after the bossa craze had kicked off worldwide and before psychedelia and fascism were about to force the unlikely birth of tropicalia. This two-disc reissue of all things Elenco is a treasure for fans of Brazilian music; for the record, Bossa Jazz has a companion volume called Brazil Bossa Beat!, but the crossover between jazz and beat is liberal. Here are many, if not most, of the figures who were in the process of making Brazilian jazz one of the most potent and fertile scenes in post-bop jazz, with Airto Moreira, Eumir Deodato, Sergio Mendes, Baden Powell, João Donato, Tamba 4, and of course, Antonio Carlos Jobim. (Even the artists less familiar to those outside the Brazilian sphere, such as Zimbo Trio and Sambalanço Trio, produced top-flight work.) Soul Jazz has done many favors to Brazilian music, but this labor of love belongs near the top.

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