Vinicius Cantuária has provided evidence through a string of fine recordings that not only is the bossa nova not dead or merely fashionably retro, but is a viable music form for exploration and expansion. Horse & Fish moved samba toward new heights atmospherically and compositionally, and his arrangement of some of the classics was both brave and rewarding. On Silva, he wrote or co-wrote everything and his own lovely acoustic and electric guitar playing is aided and abetted by collaborator/trumpeter Michael Leonhart on some tracks, and a Brazilian string section and percussionists. Arto Lindsay co-wrote a couple of tracks here as well and provided English translations wherever necessary. Cantuária also co-produced the album with Stewart Lehman. Basic tracks were recorded in New York and strings and percussion were added in Brazil. This is a thoroughly modern bossa set. Along with the acoustic instruments and Leonhart's trumpet, electronic treatments and atmospherics were added tastefully, yet brazenly, to many of the cuts here. Standouts include the lilting opening cut "A Dor" ("Pain"), the punchy, "The Bridge," with its swirling, electronically altered Fender Rhodes, flugelhorn, and samples all punching up the acoustic guitar and percussion. "Paraguay," is notable for its lushly romantic yet bittersweet musical textures and the electric guitar framing the percussion, Leonhart's trumpet solo in the bridge, and the backing vocals in the coda. "A Felicidade," is almost straight bossa with Cantuária playing beautiful open, ringing chords, tempered by simple, whole tone loops and dual percussionists. Silva is the record that makes one long for summer. Its restless adventurousness is tempered by soulful roots tradition and a delicate balance of grace and sensuality. It's an utterly beautiful and artful album.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek