Though not as internationally well known as some of his peers, like Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto, guitarist/vocalist/composer Carlos Lyra was also a major figure of the early bossa nova movement. This extremely value-priced, 33-track, 79-minute, single-CD compilation presents the entirety of his first two albums (1959's Bossa Nova and 1961's Carlos Lyra) in sequence, adding seven bonus tracks of interpretations of his compositions by other artists recorded between 1956 and 1960. If you like the work of Jobim and Gilberto, it's a good bet you'll like Lyra too, though he's not quite as distinctive. The music has a similar easygoing swing, with gentle, insistent guitar strumming (aided on Bossa Nova by second guitarist Baden Powell, a notable bossa nova artist in his own right), smooth crooned vocals, mellifluous jazzy backing, ornate orchestration that verges on easy listening, and those trademark bossa nova beats. From the first album, "Maria Ninguém" is a standout, with a melody highly reminiscent in spots of "Perfidia." The second album is pretty similar to the debut, if lighter on the pop orchestration. The bonus tracks of covers of songs Lyra wrote or co-wrote include performances by Sylvia Telles, Os Cariocas, Alaide Costa, João Gilberto, and Mariza, and are actually among the more interesting selections on the CD. Especially via the presence of some female leads and (from Os Cariocas) group singing, they provide some welcome variety.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger