Hard Bossa

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The title here is an ironic one. Hard Bossa is not "hard" at all. In fact, it is a low-key, gentle affair that has elements of breezy MPB, some Alcione-style samba, and some dreamy and jazzy bossa, and it flows from top to bottom. Joyce's softness and bounciness are everywhere present, and her guitar playing is as sharp as ever. Backed by a band that includes Tutty Moreno on drums and percussion, Lula Galvao on guitars, and upright bassist Jorge Helder, Joyce also employs the wonderful Ana Martins (who comes off sounding like a young Elis Regina) to sing lead on "Todos Os Santos," and vocalist Paulo César Pinheiro (who is her writing partner on most of these tracks), who sings lead on "Nome de Guerra." Joyce wrote or co-wrote everything on the set, and the romantic "Crianca," the shimmering "Juparana," the scattish title track, and the nostalgic "London Samba" are standouts. While it does not possess the overt prettiness of her classic Feminina, it also is free of the fusion-type material of much of her 1980s work and showcases a voice untouched by time.

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