Customer Reviews: Amoroso / Brasil
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Joao Gilberto is a genius singer and the originator of Brazilian bossa nova. His double release Amoroso/Brasil combines 2 of of the best albums of his later career in one CD. The Amoroso section ('77) displays the tranquil, fluid perfection of Gilberto's vocals. The string arrangements are somewhat heavy, but well-composed and appropriate. Joao sings with a fascinating combination of vocal control and sensuality, as on a torrid version of "Besame Mucho". The syncopated skip of his vocal lines on Jobim classics such as "Wave" is breathtaking. Great music for slow, steamy dancing. The Brasil section ('80) is my favorite, because of a more samba style, lighter arrangements, and delightful guest vocals by Caetano Veloso, G.Gil and Maria Bethania. For enjoying soft, relaxed Brazilian music, this double album is the one of the very best.
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on January 13, 2004
This CD includes two of João Gilberto's albums: Amoroso (1977) on tracks 1-8, and the tiny Brasil (1981) from 9-14. I could assign this CD 5 stars simply in virtue of the second part; it is worth getting the whole CD just for those 6 tracks.
I agree with the opinion below that Claus Ogerman's orchestral arrangements really do a disservice to Amoroso. To my ear, having heard many other of Gilberto's recordings, Ogerman just doesn't "get it"; his arrangements sometimes seem to me to undermine Gilberto's way of developing the song. For me the most annoying example is comparing "Zingaro" in this album with the live version in Gilberto's live Montreux CD (there it's titled "Retrato em Branco e Preto"). In the live version, João's interpretation builds up a lot of tension in the verses; in the studio version, Ogerman's arrangements utterly destroy this tension. Really, the only song where I think the orchestral arrangements adds anything is "Tin Tin Por Tin Tin". I my João Gilberto stars scale, Amoroso gets three stars (which translates into about four stars in my lesser artists scale).
The second album included in the CD, Brasil, is a whole another story. This has got to be some of the gentlest and most delightful music ever recorded. On this album Gilberto is accompanied by fellow Brazilian stars Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Maria Bethania. This album is very fundamentally about the contrast between the voices; the most common arrangement is to have them take turns in singing the verses of the song one after the other, almost impossibly softly, each with their own subtly different phrasing. In the context of this incredibly quiet album, the phrasing differences stand out quite dramatically for those who listen for them. One really gets to hear these familiar people's voices in a new way by juxtaposing them. (I can imagine, however, that familiarity with the artists helps in appreciating this album.)
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on August 21, 2003
Claus Ogerman's orchestral arrangements worked to great effect on Jobim's instrumental recordings in the 60's, because they didn't have a voice to contend with. They aren't exactly detrimental to Gilberto's "Amoroso", but they are pretty much superfluous. The problem with any backing for Gilberto is that it only serves to detract from his voice and guitar work. He's at his best when he's playing solo, or with some spare drums. Nevertheless, one can't be satisfied doing the very same thing over and over, and these recordings from the mid 70s and early 80s are very good indeed. The second half of the disc features Joao with Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, two guys--like many Brazilian musicians--who fell under the influence of Joao. They come together beautifully on "Bahia com H", "Aquarelo do Brasil" and "Disse Alguem"--a very peppy Brazilian reworking of the standard "All of Me". The earlier sessions--the ones with Ogerman's strings--feature Jobim's "Triste" and Joao's signature reworking of the Gershwins' "'S Wonderful". All in all, very good stuff.
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"Joâo Gilberto invented a new style of singing, with sharp precision, a minimum of volume and a maximum of cool swing. With his soft natural voice, he became not only the most important Brazilian musician ever but one of the world's most original and influential vocalists. The samba beat, which formerly required an entire section of percussionists, was condensed into the simple action of Joâo strumming his guitar." ~ Nelson Motta ~

With Johnny Mandel and Claus Ogerman, two of the most brilliant arrangers and orchestrators the music world has ever known, Joâo Gilberto is in very good hands on these recordings. Having earned multiple Grammy awards, both arrangers have proven their worth in the field of arranging and orchestration with their respective bodies of work that define brilliance and ingenuity. They have never failed to impress the listeners.

A Grammy award winner, Joâo Gilberto is a household name when it comes to Bossa Nova music. His most celebrated recordings include his debut album Chega De Saudade (1958), Getz/Gilberto (1965), Amoroso (1977) and Brasil (1981). He has collaborated with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stan Getz, Caetano Veloso and Astrud Gilberto, among many others.

The first eight tracks on this disc are from his Amoroso album that he collaborated with drummers Grady Tate and Joe Correro, bassist Jim Hughart, keyboardist Ralph Grierson, and arranger Claus Ogerman who spotlessly conducted the orchestra. It is on these tracks that Joâo Gilberto shows off not only his "soft natural voice," but also the "simple action of strumming his guitar." And this is evident among the album's centerpieces that are all synonymous to lovely Brazilian serenade such as "Caminhos Cruzados," "Wave" and "Triste." He also takes a Spanish gem of a song "Besame Mucho" and an Italian jazz staple "Estate" and gives whole new charming renditions that make them so endearing to one's ears.

The last six tracks are from the album Brasil. They are showcases of Johnny Mandel's superb arrangements that Joâo Gilberto executed in flawless fashion with the support of Milcho Leviev, Michael Boddicker (synthesizer), Clare Fisher (keyboards), Paulinho da Costa (percussion), Joe Correro (drums), Jim Hughart (bass) and a String section made up of skilled violinists, flutists, harpist, cellists, and viola players. His special guests include such Bossa Nova icons as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Maria Bethânia. As always, like Johnny Mandel's projects with other singers, the brilliant arranger brought out the very best in what Joâo Gilberto has to offer and infused an overwhelming beauty to "Aquarela Do Brasil" and "Disse Alguém," a Portuguese version of "All Of Me."

This disc represents one of the most significant pieces of music in the history of vocal jazz. I wholeheartedly recommend it to any music lover who greatly appreciates Brazilian jazz recorded in the loveliest settings.

As the author of the disc's Liner Notes, Nelson Motta ends with his well-written and agreeable estimation of Joâo Gilberto's rightful place in the music world.

"On 'Amoroso' and 'Brasil,' Joâo Gilberto can be savored in all his glory as the inventor and master of a groundbreaking style of singing and guitar playing. Most importantly, however, he is the artist who, through the sensual elegance and delicacy of his voice, brought the romantic essence of Brazilian music to the world."
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on July 9, 2004
As many reviewers have said, tracks 9-14 are worth the price of the album. These tracks are simply astonishing. I first heard three or four of them over the internet and on various mix CDs that my friends had. I was drawn to "Aquarela do Brasil" and "Disse Alguem" especially, and you could tell that it was the same session. I told myself I had to find such an album. (You see Mr. Record Company, many file sharers do go out and buy CDs!)
Wasn't I suprised to find the Brasil album (tracks 9-14) together with Amoroso (1-8). Maybe I'm a little more used to sappy strings than some other people, but they don't bother me so much. Heck, as long as I can hear Joao's voz e violao, I'm a happy man.
If the somewhat negative reviews of the first half of the CD are making some of you hesitant to purchase this wonderful music, I need only remind you that some people buy a disc for only one song. Well, here you're gonna find six wonderful ones for sure, and maybe a few more, depending on your taste in strings.
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on March 11, 1999
As a singer I must say that João, one of the greatest singers of all time, is a true professor. He is a soulful artist, and we can notice that the first time we listen to his voice. Very touching!
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on April 10, 2001
I've lived in Brasil for 6 years and learned to love the great bossanova and samba sounds. This CD contains some of my favourite brasilian songs in their best versions. Particullarly, the second part, the 'Brasil' album, which features João Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Maria Bethânia is definitely my favourite brasilian recording!
Not to be missed, under any circunstance!
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on December 11, 2015
I absolutely LOVE the Brazilian Music, it is the most relaxing music ever. And this "Joao Gilberto is a Master Mine in Music". This CD is Amazing and every song is lengthy and not rushed but put together as far as timing perfectly. My favorite is "Aquarela do Brasil". You are sure to enjoy this CD 100%.
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on May 22, 2004
I've heard that Mr. Gilberto, being very shy and a little strange, would not go into the studio for Amoroso, so they went to his house to record and he sang and played in his pajamas. Then Claus came along and added the quite wonderful arrangements afterwards. Perhaps that explains the slight out of synch feel.
But when all is said and done there is no other like Joao Gilberto. Joao liked Fred Astaire. Another one of a kind. If you have not heard Amoroso go get it! In 1977 Joao gave a one man show at the Roxy, Sunset Strip plugging Amoroso. Two sets, two days. After the first set the management was begging the audiance to stay free for the second. (Wouldn't that be nice today.) On all four sets Joao's first encore was S'Wonderful "that you should care for me." He sang O Pato for me. How he gets to the "heart of the matter." What more?
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on March 23, 2006
This cd was the first of many brazilian bossa novas I've bought. I heard the Girl from Ipanema on a complilation jazz cd and was hooked then. I don't aggree w/ the above reviewers who don't like the orchestral arrangements? Are you nuts? This album is fantastic! Its actually two albums, and I love every song. I grew up listening to mostly r/b and this style is second only to that for me.

I had never heard music so beautiful as in (portueguese'.) One of my professors suggested that I give a listen to international music, boy was she right.

I have migraines so I put on Joao/Astrud/Stan Getz to relax and release the pain. They are all so soothing and enjoyable. I also suggest you get" Getz/Gilberto: live at Carnegie Hall" Astrud appears on it as well. Antonio Carlos Jobim: Wave, "Brazilian Romance" all by Verve records.
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