Various Artists

Tokyo Bossa Nova Lounge

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While bossa nova certainly had its moment in the sun in the U.S., it seems to have enjoyed an even greater impact in Japan -- check out any of the superb Café Après-midi compilations for proof of the continuing Japanese obsession with vintage bossa beats, or better still check out Tokyo Bossa Nova Lounge, a fantastic collection of Japanese originals from the 1960s. The sound and vibe are so close to their Brazilian source material that you'd be hard-pressed to discern a difference between this stuff and, say, Sergio Mendes -- until the vocals kick in, that is. Most of the performances are in Japanese, and they're often recorded with a gauzy, echoing patina that's utterly unique. Good stuff all around; highlights include Keisuke Egusa's "Summer Samba," Kyoko Okada's "Donnafunki," Masami Kawahara's "Mas Que Nada," and Hiroshi Matsumoto's "Agua de Beber."

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