Bossa Nova translated as the "new beat" or "the new style", grew out of Rio De Janeiro in 1958. The instigators were a handful of artists with a desire to break from tradition, developing the samba rhythms with the influence of cool American jazz to find a music with such a warm soul and natural rhythm that no-one can help but tap and sway to its beat. Bossa Nova is palm trees swaying, it is like melting sugar in hot coffee, it is the setting sun and warm sand underfoot. It is the sound and beat of Brazil, it is one of the world's coolest musical styles and it remains to this day one of the world's great musical treasures.
Brazil's former minister of culture is enjoying himself. Freed from the constraints of office, the country's best-known singer-songwriter is clearly determined to show that his voice, guitar work and range are as impressive as ever. His last studio album, Banda Larga Cordel, showed he was still willing to experiment, and this new live set is a further reminder of his ability to develop. His lengthy career has included playing a key role in the rock-influenced Tropicália movement, the establishment of a Brazilian reggae scene, and excursions into anything from forró to electronica. On this album he is backed by his own acoustic guitar, with just a little help from his sons Bem and José, adding additional guitar, percussion and occasional bass.
Tania Maria's debut American release helped introduce her to U.S. audiences. Joined by a quintet that includes guitarist Eddie Duran, the exuberant vocalist and pianist performs four of her colorful originals, a couple of obscurities, and a song apiece by Jobim ("Triste") and Ivan Lins. Maria's mixture of Latin jazz with Brazilian pop is quite appealing and helped make her a popular star; this was one of her better efforts.
Expresso 2222, Gilberto Gil's first album back in Brazil after spending two years in exile, is a spirited return to form, filled with driving, funky bass, hammering piano, and percussive guitar work.