Oscar Peterson augmented his regular working trio of the time (bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes) with Henley Gibson on congas, Marshall Thompson on timbales, and Harold Jones as an added percussionist for this release, which focuses mostly on the music of Brazilian composers (so the title Soul Espanõl is a bit misleading). With the surge of interest in bossa nova and samba, Peterson's interpretations of songs like "Manha de Carnaval," "How Insensitive," "Meditation," and "Samba de Orfeo" have stood up very well against similar jazz recordings of the mid-'60s. Peterson's "Soulville Samba" has a gospel flavor, while his "Sensitive Samba" is more laid-back; Vincent Youmans' decades-old "Carioca" also fit in nicely. This is an enjoyable, if not essential, part of Oscar Peterson's considerable discography.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden