Various Artists

A Trip to Brazil, Vol. 3: Back to Bossa

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If one were to write a book on the history of bossa nova, it would be incomplete without some discussion of American participants. Bossa nova was multiculturalism at its finest -- its main ingredients came from both Brazil (samba) and the United States (cool jazz). And the major players were both Brazilian (João and Astrud Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Laurindo Almeida) and American (Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd, Bud Shank). Assembled by Brazilian producer Arnaldo DeSouteiro for Boutique/Universal Jazz Germany, A Trip to Brazil, Vol. 3: Back to Bossa underscores the bossa nova's multicultural nature. DeSouteiro, whose choices range from good to excellent, doesn't pick Brazilian artists exclusively. Brazilian heavyweights like Jobim, João Gilberto, Baden Powell, Luiz Bonfá, and Elis Regina are heard alongside famous American jazz improvisers such as Bill Evans, Hank Jones, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Cal Tjader, and Kai Winding. Instrumentalists and vocalists are both a priority, and the double CD (which spans 1960-2002) demonstrates that bossa nova singing can be in either Portuguese (Elis Regina on "Tristeza," João Gilberto on "Rosinha") or English (Lorez Alexandria on "Little Boat," Jackie & Roy on the English lyrics that Gene Lees and Buddy Kaye wrote for Jobim's "Corcovado"). And some of the vocals are wordless, including Helen Merrill's 1978 version of Edu Lobo's "Casa Forte" and Lobo's unlikely interpretation of the Beatles' "Hey Jude" (produced by Sergio Mendes). Most of the selections are from the '60s or '70s; one of the exceptions is singer Ithamara Koorax's sensuous 2002 performance of Jobim's "Ligia." Some of DeSouteiro's picks aren't really bossa nova; Azymuth's "Que É Que Você Vai Fazer Nesse Carnaval?," for example, is Brazilian jazz-funk. But bossa nova is dominant, and there is always a Brazilian jazz connection on this pleasing release.

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