In the '60s, Eumir Deodato and Marcos Valle were one of Brazil's potent combinations -- they enjoyed the type of strong rapport that Antonio Carlos Jobim had with João Gilberto and Flora Purim has with Airto Moreira. This collection of '60s recordings paints an attractive picture of Deodato's collaborations with Valle. Regrettably, Irma doesn't provide exact recording dates -- which is extremely frustrating -- but the music is excellent. While Valle is the composer, Deodato is the arranger/conductor. In addition to playing acoustic and electric piano and organ, Deodato oversees a predominantly Brazilian big band that includes heavyweights like trombonist Raul DeSouza and drummers Ivan Conti (of Azymuth fame) and Dom Um Romão. The instrumental Brazilian jazz-pop that Deodato and Valle provide is very arranged, and yet there is still enough room for Deodato and his colleagues to get in some memorable solos. Melodic, easy to absorb gems like "Maria's Dream" ("Sonho de Maria" in Portuguese), "Summer Samba," and "Crickets" won't appeal to myopic jazz purists or bop snobs; these sublime recordings, like much of the bossa nova that came out in the '60s, are obviously meant to be accessible to pop audiences. But that doesn't mean that the material is uncreative or uninteresting -- quite the contrary. With these performances, Deodato and Valle proved the same thing that Glenn Miller proved in the '30s and early '40s and Grover Washington, Jr. proved in the '70s, '80s, and '90s -- they demonstrated that instrumental jazz can have pop appeal without losing its integrity and becoming elevator music. Commercialism can, in fact, be a healthy thing in jazz if it is done tastefully, and Summer Samba: Eumir Deodato Plays Marcos Valle is a highly rewarding example.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson