The first and third of the three albums Vince Guaraldi and Bola Sete made together -- Vince Guaraldi/Bola Sete & Friends (1963) and Vince Guaraldi & Bola Sete Live at El Matador (1966) -- are combined onto one disc on this CD reissue. Actually, Sete only plays on two of the seven songs ("More" and "O Morro Nao Tem Vez") on the latter album, but no matter. Their collaboration could not be pegged as a peak in either man's careers, and did not particularly inspire either to forms or feelings they didn't achieve on their own. Nevertheless, they made pleasant, lightly swinging music together, often with a jazz-samba lilt, though at an easy enough pace that the music could fit comfortably into lounges. Vince Guaraldi/Bola Sete & Friends is certainly the more samba-oriented of the pair, not only because Sete is aboard for every cut, but also because the arrangements have more of a Brazilian feel. On Vince Guaraldi & Bola Sete Live at El Matador, an unusual highlight is Guaraldi's Sete-less interpretation of the Beatles' "I'm a Loser" -- surely one of the more unusual Beatles covers of the time, and quite possibly the most unusual cover of "I'm a Loser" itself, which wasn't one of Lennon-McCartney's more frequently interpreted compositions.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger