In the early '60s when many Brazilian musicians brought bossa nova to the United States, classically trained guitarist Baden Powell took his guitar to France. Hence, the rest is history, as this Brazilian artist infused his hybrid jazz/classical/bossa nova articulations into the European scene. This program chronicles the work he did for the Barclay (CD one) and Festival (CD two) record companies, spanning the mid-'60s through the late '70s. Throughout these multifarious works, featuring Powell performing solo guitar and with various ensembles, the listener is provided with a radiant glimpse of his virtuosity and depth. On various works, Powell melds a distinct sense of classicism with buoyancy and sophistication. Sure, bossa nova and samba-based rhythms are firmly rooted within his palate. Yet, Powell's insightful ability to step out of preconceived boundaries becomes apparent from the opening moments of disc one. His delicate plucking and strumming are augmented by his penchant for injecting a driving force into many of these compositions, featuring the inherent rhythmic elements of Brazilian music. He performs with horns and strings on certain tracks, amid endeavors with standard rhythm sections and percussionists. Regardless, Powell's artisanship is partly founded upon the jubilance and festive-like environs of a Brazilian carnival. He molds the tried and true into a deeply personalized methodology, witnessed by his rhythmically complex renditions of Monk's "'Round About Midnight" and other works. Sadly, Powell's severe alcoholism took its toll, resulting in his death in 2000.
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AllMusic Review by Glenn Astarita