Various Artists

On a Clear Day: Irma Bossa Lounge

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A compilation of modern, mostly Italian bossa from the Irma label, On a Clear Day benefits from the wise choices of its compiler, Tatsuo Sunaga. Irma occasionally indulges in recordings that don't push the bossa rhythm or concept very far, but goosed by an opening remix of Sunaga's own, the album boasts not only freshness but excellence too. Sunaga's gloss on Montefiori Cocktail's version of the Lerner-Lane chestnut "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" doesn't change very much, but gives the track the sprucing it needs. Blue Cowboys' "Bossa Fluida" is exactly what the title suggests, with the usual guitar licks replaced by a fuzzy acid line that morphs delightfully in and out of phase, pacing a breezy female vocal chorus. None of the performances have that stale, rote sound of some bossa revivalists, and Sunaga does well balancing band tracks with programmed fusion. The highlight comes near the end, when a group of Brazilian all-stars -- including Luciano Alves, Ithamara Koorax, and Arnaldo DeSouteiro -- gather under the umbrella of percussion extraordinaire Dom Um Romao.

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