Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
To judge by several new recordings, bossa nova is enjoying a revival in Brazil. Recently, singer-songwriter Bebel Gilberto, Joao’s daughter, released a CD of vintage and original compositions employing sparing, subdued synthesizer washes to enhance the colors of her voice and her acoustic accompanists. Quarteto Jobim-Morelenbaum’s collection of Antonio Carlos Jobim songs dispenses entirely with electronics, recapturing the spring-breeze purity of the early bossa nova recordings. The group, a double family affair, consists of Jobim’s son Paolo (guitar and voice), grandson Daniel (piano and voice), and the husband-and-wife team of Paula (voice) and Jacques (cello) Morelenbaum. In several respects, the Quarteto improves on the original recordings: The vocal harmonies are richer, the cello adds an intriguingly dark undercurrent to the melodies, and the vocalists possess purer, more precise instruments than the composer and Astrud Gilberto, the charming but intonation-challenged girl from Ipanema. The 13-song repertoire, performed in Portuguese, contains some of Jobim’s best-loved compositions, including, to use the English titles, “Meditation,” “Quiet Nights,” and “The Waters of March.” Caetano Veloso’s reverent liner notes suggest that, although this album might be unwittingly consigned to the pestilent “easy listening” bin, it is a work of uncommon elegance and eloquence, “a miracle that ‘happened’ as if it were a simple daily occurrence.” —Joel E. Siegel