Jazz Album of the Week: Love Bossa? The Little Box of Bossa Nova Is For You!

Feb 11, 2020

February 10, 2020. Born in Brazil and popularized in the United States, bossa nova melds the spicy romance of samba with the principles of jazz. It translates to “new trend,” which is exactly what it was at its emergence in the '50s and '60s. The Little Box of Bossa Nova highlights the different layers of the bossa nova movement in a three-disc set, and provides some lovely Valentine’s vibes.

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Disc 1 features the artists who are known as the early stars of the art form, performing the pieces that have proven to be timeless. Luis Bonifa, Astor Silva, Sergio Mendes, Silvia Telles and many others provide a sort of introduction to the music. Songs like “Fotografia,” “Outro Vez,” and “Corcovado” are featured. You’ll hear those tunes later in the album as well, possibly listed with their English translation, or sounding quite different.

Disc two kicks off with the artists credited with bringing bossa nova stateside – Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd – with “Desafinado,” and continues to lay out hits from the American jazz artists that made bossa mainstream. From offerings from Dave Brubeck’s Bossa Nova USA to Ike Quebec’a Bossa Nova Soul Samba, this portion of the set shows how big this style became on America soil. Some of the biggest names in jazz couldn’t get enough of this new wave of music.

Disc three of this compilation pays homage to the man known as O Mito (The Legend) in his native Brazil, and known as the “the father of bossa nova” around the world, Joao Gilberto. His guitar stylings and charismatic vocal delivery caused him to go from a pioneer to a worldwide sensation. His sound is synonymous with bossa nova, and his studio techniques changed the face of modern recording. Unfortunately, Joao passed away this past July, but his legacy lives on. This collection is a wonderful tribute to him.

Whether you are a bossa afficianado, or just like the mellow tones, The Little Box of Bossa Nova is worth adding to your collection. This is great mood music for a dinner party, a romantic night, or just relaxing.