Vinícius de Moraes / Odette Lara

Vinicius & Odette Lara

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The poet/performer Vinicius de Moraes and the vocalist Odette Lara make a wonderful team, and though their voices aren't heard together as much as they should be here, Vinicius & Odette Lara is a warm, inviting collection. The dozen songs are all originals -- by de Moraes and old friend Baden Powell, who also appears as a musician -- and usually present Lara and de Moraes trading lines, or Lara taking the verses while de Moraes handles choruses. The breathtaking "Samba Preludio" is one of the few actual duets; after a preface featuring a mournful de Moraes over a sawing cello, Lara sings a few lines alone as well before the pair's voices intertwine (even while they sing different lines). Moacyr Santos' arrangements range from Brazilian bossa to string orchestra pop to anthemic soul-jazz, with plenty of trumpet and flute as well as a warm cocktail piano and the usual sewing machine bossa percussion. On "Deve se Amor," playful reeds and high-note trumpet accent a smooth, powerful vocal by Lara. It's a bit disconcerting to hear a Brazilian vocal album without recognizing at least one standard, but Vinicius & Odette Lara is a challenging, entertaining work of jazzy Brazilian pop.

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