This 1970 recording, recently redistributed by Sunnyside, was made in the studio with a live audience; the Portuguese commentary may elude most listeners, but the laughter and warmth are universal. Vinicius de Moraes is best known as the lyricist who verbalized Antonio Carlos Jobim, and some of their most famous collaborations are here: "A Felicidade," "Garota de Ipanema," and "Se Todos Fossem Iguais a Voce," which, in Gene Lees's translation, became "Someone to Light Up My Life." There are also the less-recorded but no less beautiful "Lamento No Morro" and the aching "Eu Sei que Vou Te Amar," with a lovely vocal by Maria Crueza and tender spoken commentary by de Moraes. You don't need to speak Portuguese to grasp what he's talking about. The Jobim tunes stand out here, along with the strong melodies of the late Baden Powell, including the familiar "Berimbau," the darkly powerful "Cando de Ossanha," and the poignant "Samba em Preludio." Another gem is Carlos Lyra's shimmering "Minha Namorada." De Moraes's rough, soulful voice is leavened by Crueza, who vaguely resembles Astrud Gilberto, but is sweeter and stronger. Guitarist Toquinho is superb throughout, demonstrating his solo artistry on de Moraes's "Valsa da Tunisia." Aside from some pop tunes like "Irene" and "Que Maravilha," which are flash frozen in the early '70s, the generous material is timeless and fresh. This CD is relaxed, intimate, and straightfoward, focused on the heartfelt delivery of classic, beloved Brazilian songs.
AllMusic Review by Judith Schlesinger