Joe Beck has had a long career, though he remains an artist deserving of wider recognition. These 2005 sessions are a relaxing affair that will delight fans of Brazilian jazz. Joined by bassist Ira Coleman and drummer Thierry Arpino (who is known for his work with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty), Beck's fluid electric guitar (while sometimes overdubbing an acoustic rhythm line) makes the most of each selection, playing a heavy dose of popular tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim and his own tasty originals. Highlights among the Jobim compositions include the bittersweet "O Grande Amor" and the easygoing "Felicidade." Harmonica player Gregoire Maret is added for the leader's gentle bossa nova "And Here's to You" and Jobim's bittersweet "Falando De Amor."
With tangos and Ellingtonia under his belt, this ever-curious occasional crossover classicist takes another break from the Berlin Staatsoper, the Chicago Symphony, and Bayreuth to dabble in an unfamiliar (to him) idiom. Though the results are about as spontaneous as a sunrise, this collection does cover a wide range of brief bits of Braziliana from inevitable tunes by Ary Barroso, Luiz Bonfá, and Antonio Carlos Jobim to songs by Milton Nascimento and Caetano Veloso and classical selections by Heitor Villa-Lobos and Darius Milhaud.