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Solo in Rio 1959

4.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Description

One of the most creative guitar virtuosos of the 20th century, Luiz Bonfá is celebrated as one of the principal architects of the cool Brazilian sound of bossa nova - and as co-author, with Antônio Carlos Jobim, of the film score to "Black Orpheus." But Bonfá was far more than the composer of "Manhã de Carnaval." His technical mastery, intimacy, and dynamism suffuse every track of this first CD edition of his masterpiece, a long-unobtainable solo 1959 LP, along with a half-hour of previously unreleased material from the original studio session. 70 minutes, 31 tracks, 32 page booklet with extensive notes by Anthony Weller.

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Luiz Bonfá, along with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Baden Powell and Joao Gilberto, helped invent Brazilian Bossa Nova. "The whisper heard around the world" was budding during the 1950s but achieved full flower a decade later. It was a coolly intellectual yet irresistibly melodic marriage of African-derived samba rhythms with American jazz and French Existentialism. Bonfá eventually became world-famous due to his contributions to the score of Orfeo Negro, a much-honored film in which the tragic Greek legend was transmuted to Rio during Carnival time. The present tracks were produced by Emory Cook and this invaluable reissue not only revives a beautiful album but contains 15 previously unreleased tunes. The sonic environment is clear and spacious throughout, uncluttered by unnecessary studio adulterations. Bonfá was not a great singer but his wistful, straight-from-the-heart delivery makes mere technique seem showy and overdone. However, as a guitarist, he had no superiors and few peers. --Christina Roden
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 22, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • ASIN: B00079R052
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,019 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ronald Scheer on June 19, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording is the meeting of two virtuosos - one the brilliant Brazilian guitarist Luiz Bonfá (1922-2001) and the other a recording technician and ethnomusicologist, Emery Cook (1913-2002), who captured this solo performance with a battery-driven Nagra III on an evening in Rio more than 45 years ago. Issued originally on a Folkways LP, containing 17 tracks, this reissue on CD by the Smithsonian reproduces the entire recording session of 31 songs.

If you like the light, haunting and rhythmic touch of bossa nova (especially if you were around during its emergence in American popular music and jazz in the early 1960s), you'll thoroughly enjoy this CD. There are a few standards ("Tenderly," "Night and Day") and two versions of "Manhã de Carnival" from the film "Black Orpheus." And the rest are lesser known Bonfá compositions and spur of the moment improvisations, one flowing easily from the other.

The CD comes with a 32-page booklet featuring a lengthy biography and appreciation by guitarist-composer-writer Anthony Weller and a track-by-track commentary on each song. Personal, intimate and introspective, this recording will give many hours of pleasure.
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(...)The quality of the recording is just as amazing. All too frequently, you have to settle for a poor quality recording for 40 or 50 year old performances. The depth and clarity of this recording makes it sound like Sr. Bonfa is right in the room with me. This is an all around great performance.
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I've just listened to it once, but this CD, like the music Luiz Bonfa composed, is immediately accessible. Encumbered neither by other musicians, nor "effects", we hear Bonfa just as he must have sounded when he sat and played in a very natural, relaxed venue. His technique (including "devices" such as the bush stroke that, if he didn't invent or develop, cannot be used better by any other guitarist with whom I'm familiar) allows him to focus on creating completely authentic music.

This is also an historically interesting CD, with an excellent booklet which provides a great deal of pertinent information about an artist who really deserves much more attention by those who discuss the great acoustic (or classical/ nylon-string) guitarists of the 20th century.

And the best part of the whole package is: the music!!
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This is the first time I had heard Luiz Bonfa's playing, although his name was mentioned in Castro's book on the history of Bossa Nova. Every song on this CD is absolutely amazing. Even though many songs are less than 5 minutes long, they pack so much feeling in them. Luiz' voice is also a real pleasure to listen to.
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This has been an extremely hard to find audio recording from the legendary Brazilian guitarist/composer Luiz Bonfa. Amazingly, the producers included other takes of some of Bonfa's classics which I have never before heard.

Bonfa's guitar virtuosity and composition work are a joy for both guitarists and non-guitarists to enjoy.

I consider this to be a 'must have' collection

The title has been changed from the original A Voila de Luiz Bonfa to Solo in Rio. Buy it - you won't be disappointed.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I do not know much about Latin Music in general or Bossa Nova in particular but I do know quality! Solo in Rio 1959 by Luiz Bonfa has incandescent, melodious-genial, tranquillity! Of course paltry words can not express the beauty of Bonfa's music you must experience it...do it... now!
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I am a casual Brazilian music fan. I heard one of his cut on Pandora and searched it out.
This CD is a bit hard to find and is not on iTunes or Amazon.
Anyhow, this is as much an ethnographic recording as a performance. That is to say, there are some pieced on here I would have left out but, I think the Smithsonian is looking to "demo" as much as perform an artists in this series. That makes set to play a bit odd as some music will pop up that, does not seem to belong in that place or order.
I would set up a playlist with the songs you like and that makes sense together and play that.
The music is fun and the playing is incredible. Need we know more?
So make that caipirinha cocktail, sit back under an umbrella on the beach, turn on Solo in Rio and relax.
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I never heard of Luis Bonfa before I listened to an NPR segment about great musical CDs. They played a short clip of Sambolero; I was mesmerized. Considering that this was recorded on what amounts to a simple tape recorder back in 1959, the sound is amazing. Just the guitar and occasionally Bonfa's voice. A Brazilian in New York is humorous and quite eccentric. Manha de Carnaval is at the heart of the bossa nova sound, which, by the way, is just as subtle and moving as it was when it was "popular". This is a great CD for anyone who loves good music.
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