Various Artists

Brazil: Bossa Nova Sua Historia Sua Gente

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Every fan is going to have their own nitpick fest with any collection that professes to be a history of the bossa nova on record -- it cannot be avoided. So have no illusions with the choices on this double-CD package put out by Philips' Brazil division. That said, with 36 tracks and every major artist from the music's origins and virtually every great songwriter of the genre represented, it's tougher to pick with this one. Here is the cream of the crop in terms of the evolution of the bossa nova, with "Sofrer É Da Vida" by Mario Res as a starting point, closely followed by Dick Farney and Norman Bengel's interpretation of Roberto Menescal and Ronoldo Boscoli's "Voce" (which later got lyrics and became "Call Me" in Anglo). But the major tunes are here by the artists who performed them -- from the Doris Montiero Trio doing "Nos E O Mar" to Billy Blanco with "Mochino Bonito" to the Donata E Seu Trio doing Tom Jobim and Vincius de Morales' "Só Danço Samba." And that's only for starters on the first part of disc one. Other artists here are the Tamba Trio, Stan Getz with Jobim and Astrud Gilberto, Jorge Ben, Baden Powell, the Zimbo Trio, Carlos Lyra, Claudette Soares, Joao Gilberto, Oscar Castro Neves, Leny Andrade, Elis & Tom, Sylvia Telles, Lennie Dale, MPB-4, Rosinha de Valença, and two dozen more. To know the performances and the selections are one thing when compiling a set like this, but to provide accurate documentation that allows the music to tell its own story is another, and here is where Philips excels. Along with credits and complete song details is a historical timeline and exhaustive notes on the evolution of the music -- in Portuguese -- including the era of Brazilian popular music that made the bossa nova possible, also featuring sketch biographies of these artists who made that music as well as the principles. There are many bossa comps, but none go into as much depth with as much breadth as this one. Argue away.

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