From the Summer 2004 issue.
By John Pizzarelli
Telarc Records: 2004
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
Fans of the Brazilian sound will love this near-flawless set. A quaint fluid smoothness pervades John Pizzarelli's "Bossa Nova," and the guitarist's unaffected vocals he sounds like a cross between James Taylor and Paul Simon combined with the band's gorgeously cool renditions of some of the classics should draw in even those who haven't fully embraced the Brazilian feel.
An unexpected bonus here are the understated string and flute quartet arrangements by Don Sebesky better known for his big band charts that whisper and sigh in and out of the mix on six of the thirteen tunes.
Fittingly, "Bossa Nova" includes a fistful of tunes from the master, Antonio Carlos Jobim "One Note Samba," "The Girl from Ipanema," "Desafinado," "So Danco Samba" and "Agua De Marco" all done with a reverence for the originals combined with Pizzarelli's own engaging personal style. Also included are Gershwin's "Fascinatin' Rhythm" and James Taylor's "Your Smiling Face" (which doesn't sound on paper like it fits, but Pizzarelli makes it slip right in), along with Steven Sondheim's "I Remember" and a couple of Pizzarelli originals.
A graceful and polished set, "Bossa Nova" might have you it happened to me searching the Brazilian rack in your local music store.
Review by Dan McClenaghan. Dan is a writer living in Oceanside, Calif. Read his biography on his AllAboutJazz.com page.