Brazilian music legend and superstar (the Brazilians never, ever forget their heroes, they keep buying their records and attending their concerts until they drop) Gal Costa played to a very small jazz club crowd at the Blue Note in New York City in May of 2006. This recording on the DRG label is the complete recording of that performance. Costa was accompanied by a jazz quartet that included bass, drums, guitar, and reed and woodwind instruments. She performed a complete bossa nova repertoire, whose roots and popularity were a full musical generation before her own coming of age during the tumultuous and wildly creative tropicalia movement of the late 1960s and early '70s that threatened the nation's government.
Most of what's here are the classics, written by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, Dorival Caymmi, Ary Barroso, and Herivelto Martins: "Corcovado," "Desafinado," "Garota de Ipanema," "Triste," "Wave," and more. And are they ever elegant. The band's playing is slippery and fluid behind her, weaving hypnotically, imparting rhythms and textures through the middle of that glorious voice, a shade lower than it used to be but with all that breezy elegance. There are a couple of surprises, however; Costa's readings of the standards "I Fall in Love Too Easily," and a beautiful medley of "Coisa Mais Linda E" and "As Time Goes By" are a bit inconsistent, but the only real problem with this set is that it seems to flit by in an instant, though its 17 cuts add up to over an hour. This is an utterly enchanting and beautiful recording. All bossa fans should have it.