CD Reviews

Samba Bossa Nova, Putumayo World Music, 2002

When Bossa Nova reached North America

in the late 1950s, audiences eagerly embraced the cool, breezy Brazilian music. While the whispered vocals of performers such as Astrud Gilberto and Carlos Jobim won a loyal following and musical recognition, the musical genre’s popularity did not endure. Despite this, bossa nova survived on the musical fringes in North America, as well as in Brazil. Since the mid- 1990s, there has been a modest revival of bossa nova, with recording artists such as Diana Krall including bossas on her last CD.

Samba Bossa Nova is the most recent release of this unique musical style, Brazil’s greatest gift to the world. It pays homage to classic bossa nova, including new renditions of classic bossas by young established Brazilian singers. Particularly outstanding is the Quarteto Jobim – Morelenbaum’s suave “Eveo Meu Amor/ Lemento No Morro,” Jussara Silveria’s breezy “La Vem a Baiana,” Rosa Passo’s cool “ E Luxo So,” as well as Marcio Faraco’s sensual “Feitico Da Vila.”

As the title of this new release announces, it does not merely confine itself to bossa, but also includes samba because, as the liner notes state, “samba is at the heart of bossa nova and provides inspiration to a complex art form.” Samba, the foundation of bossa nova, is a vibrant street dance, based on a mixture of West African rhythms from the slums of Brazilian cities such as Rio de Janeiro. By listening to melodic sambas such as Jorge Aragao’s upbeat “Preto Kor Prets” and Eliete Negreiros’ haunting “Meu Mundo e Hoje,” one can clearly see how bossa developed from samba. However, the high quality of the bossa nova overshadows the samba on the CD.

The Rough Guide to the Music of Spain, World Music Network, 2002

Rough Guide’s Spain — a survey of the musical landscape of Spain — is a partial disappointment. The CD successfully offers a taste of the different regional musical styles existing in Spain, from Catalonia, the Basque country Galicia, Andalusia and Mallorca. The music ranges from ambient melodies to the pulsing rhythms of flamenco. However, what is lacking, and what could have enhanced the CD, is the country’s infectious flamenco-laced pop that is absent from the North American music scene.

– Tim Pelzer
The author is a freelance writer and longshoreman from Canada. He can be reached at