More than seven years before Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd introduced the bossa nova of Antonio Carlos Jobim to American audiences, guitarist Laurindo Almeida and altoist Bud Shank (in a quartet with bassist Harry Babasin and drummer Roy Harte) recorded the intriguing music heard on this CD reissue. The performances are very close to bossa nova in their combination of cool-toned jazz and Brazilian rhythms; in fact, these are arguably the first bossa nova recordings, long before even Jobim and Joao Gilberto initially recorded. Only four of the 14 tunes ("Speak Low" is heard in two versions) are not based on Brazilian folk songs, and many of the songs (particularly "Carinoso") are quite memorable. This historically significant, very accessible, and highly recommended release is a gem.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow