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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2005
I like John Pizzarelli a lot, and have seen him 3 times in concert (once with his father Bucky.) He's terrific. But even more, I love bossa nova and its greats: Gilberto, Jobim et al. John makes an earnest stab at this material, but while he doesn't fall flat, he also doesn't quite snare it. After playing the disc a few times, and wanting to get something out of my purchase, I concluded that for me, 8 of the tracks held up to repeated listening. Since I copy all my discs to computer, it was easy enough to separate out and highlight those tracks. Some of the songs have been over-recorded and overplayed to death, and great as the songs are I couldn't tolerate another halfway, competent but non-brilliant stab at them: One-Note Samba, Girl from Ipanema, Aguas de Marco and Desafinado are better left to their originators. And for me, James Taylor's Your Smiling Face doesn't fit here, although Pizzarelli does a decent job of it. The rest of the album is quite nice, and the 8 songs come to a very pleasant 35 minutes, a good length for an album. I'm glad I bought it, there's really good music here, but you may want to pick your own favorites and skip over the rest.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2004
John Pizzarelli's soft voice is well suited to the understated singing style of Bossa Nova. His singing wraps tightly around the band and on a few tracks, I found myself marveling at how difficult it must have been to perfect the performance. John even manages to breathe life into James Taylor's tired, old pop confection "Your Smiling Face". The band is very tight and the string arrangements are understated and serve the songs well. I have three other of John's recordings and musically this is my favorite.

Now for the bad news: I am mystified by the poor sound of this disc. According to the label's Web site, "Telarc's objective has been to provide the highest quality music reproduction possible." I have other Telarc discs (Jim Hall and Bobby Short) and they all have great sound. However, this album is stuck inside my speakers. John's voice seems trapped. The lack of sound stage renders the recording congested and makes it hard to pick out the individual instruments. When I played the cd for my father, who is by no means an audiophile, he asked if there was something wrong with my stereo (there's not).

It is VERY frustrating to really like the material on an album but be so turned off by its sound. This may not matter to those who listen through their car's cd player or on a boom box. But I suspect there are more than a few audiophiles in John's audience who own stereos capable of revealing the true nature of a recording and then spend lots of time and money to find the few recordings each year that mate great material and great sound. Bossa Nova gets it only half right.

Oh well, there are many other fish in the sea but since I really don't want to throw this one back, I'll put it in my car's cd changer and try to forget what might have been.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
In the liner notes the artist gives a heartfelt tribute to "Amoroso," the Gilberto-Claus Ogerman album that inspired this present effort. Pizzarelli's offering is certainly in the same tasteful, subtle and sensitive vein, though it contributes nothing new to the genre and style. Pizzarelli's voice, if anything, is smaller and slightly pinched compared to either Gilberto's or Jobim's. Moreover, notwithstanding a couple of tracks on which the performer's scatting doubles his facile single-note lines on guitar, there's none of the playfulness of an Astrud Gilberto or the humor of an Elis Regina. Nor do I sense any of the urgency Susannah McCorkle was able to bring to the form or the gravitas, indeed pathos, Sinatra injected in the music during his remarkable meetings with Jobim. On the whole, this latter-day bossa nova program strikes me as a pleasant but largely generic, innocuous and unnecessary offering. At the same time it's a beacon of smart, good taste and highly-skilled musicianship in comparison to most other current pop releases. For fans of Pizzarelli or for listeners with limited bossa nova collections, this recording merits a close look.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
"I hope you will take the journey with us
and hear a part of what so moved me
that early July morning on the AM airwaves.
I also hope that a little piece of this recording
will remain in your heart too, much like
João's music and Brazil has remained in mine." ~ John Pizzarelli

What a very nice thought from guitarist/vocalist/composer John Pizzarelli. What he heard from the airwaves that summer of '81 was João Gilberto singing a Claus Ogerman arrangement of "Besame Mucho" from the album "Amoroso." And according to Mr. Pizzarelli "that record is a gift to the world. It remains an inspiration to all who hear it; and he always thought it to be the centerpiece of everything that Bossa Nova is and has become."

This CD is a testament of Pizzarelli's love for Bossa Nova, which has become a musical phenomenon. The marriage of American and Brazilian music was warmly embraced and welcomed by music lovers throughout the world. Its popularity is so overwhelming! Numerous great jazz legends, musicians and artists have recorded this kind of music.

Listen to one of the greatest compositions of the Gershwins -"Fascinating Rhythm" and you'll be delighted in the way Pizzarelli interpreted this standard - so splendidly arranged by Don Sebesky. Jobim's gem of gems, "The Girl From Ipanema" features Tom Jobim's grandson, Daniel Jobim, singing the Portuguese lyrics.

Another standout is his interpretation of Sweet Baby James' "Your Smiling Face," with its Bossa Nova twist, this has become one of the best versions I've ever heard. I'm sure Mr. Taylor would have liked it. His renditions of Bossa Nova staples "Desafinado," "One Note Samba" and "So Danco Samba" and Stephen Sondheim's "I Remember" are fabulous. His own composition "Francesca" is so nice and has an exotic rhythm to it.

My ultimate favorite in this CD is Paul Williams/Ivan Lins/Victor Martins' "Love Dance." It's a very mellow song with words so eloquent and the music so pleasing to the ears. Thank you for recommending this CD and many thanks to Mr. Pizzarelli for including this lovely song in your repertoire. Not to mention the equally talented jazz musicians who have helped Pizzarelli make this recording worthy to Bossa Nova fans: Ray Kennedy (piano), Martin Pizzarelli (bass), Paulinho Braga (drums), Jim Saporito (percussion), Cesar Mariano (piano - "So Danco Samba"), Harry Allen (tenor sax) and Chiara Civello (background vocals).

This is certainly a CD-for-all-seasons!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2004
John Pizzarelli never fails to surprise. This album is one of his finest (Although my all time favorite is "New Standards"), whenever I see him live, his personal mix of music and mirth leave me hoping for more. His shows are always over too soon.
I've enjoyed watching John grow for many years. The combination of Ray Kennedy (Piano), Martin Pizzarelli (Bass)and John on a CD or Live is really a musical treat.... never to be missed.
"Bossa Nova" is no exception. I will display it (and play it)proudly in my "Pizzarelli" collection. You should too.
Hurry up Mr. Pizzarelli... make another album! NOW!
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2004
There are several really great tracks on this album, in my opinion. I picked it up on a whim when I was out shopping. I'm always looking for something new to listen to.

I'm especially enamored with the arrangements of "I Remember", "Estate", and "Francesca". The remaining arrangements round the album out. I find myself repeating the three tracks I'm especially enamored with "I Remember". The whole piece comes together beautifully. It's hard to explain why it touches me like it does.

The musicianship is first rate and this is one of my favorite new albums. More tracks of the quality found in "I Remember" and "Estate" would rate this album a 5. It's still a lovely album and it has a place in my long term favorites.

I'm quite pleased with my impulse purchase.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2006
I liked John Pizzarelli and bossa nova before I found out about this album, so buying it was a natural choice for me. Brazilian music is some of the most beautiful made in the world, and Pizzarelli respects that tradition while blending it with his unique style. If you're a fan of bossa nova looking for something new, or a jazz listener in need of a mostly lighthearted summery album, pick this up.

Favorite track - Waters of March, a classic Brazilian bossa nova done with a good translation.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 29, 2004
(This guy is like a machine - it seems like a new Pizzarelli CD is always coming out!)
So it's yet another solid release from the hip jazz guitarist singer. This time though, he's doing the bossa nova.
It seems strange that Pizzarelli's never done this genre before, because it works out so well. He's the perfect laid-back mellow guy for the music.
So, as usual, another solid cd beginning to end. Actually, this album is one of his more enjoyable ones because of the new style and great source material.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2004
I could have given this album a 5 stars based on the selection and interpretation of the songs, but the quality of the actual recording leaves a lot to be desired; the sound is dull and tarnished; I think the "sound engineers" are the ones to blame for this defect; they should stick to the known formulas for great-sounding albums; that "Direct Stream Digital" doesn't fly at all.

And John should have picked up on that also.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2012
I actually got this CD from a friend who was listening to it in his office. I was like "Hmmm... What is this?" I absolutely love the smoothness of the sound, the way it just relaxes me and lulls me to sleep when I've had a rough day. I actually had Francesca stuck in my head for a whole weekend.
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