JOĆO GILBERTO Chega De Saudade (Doxy)
Frequently cited as the first bossa nova album, “Chega De Saudade” was recorded in 1958 by the man who, in league with Stan Getz, Anton Carlos Jobim and his wife Astrud Gilberto, would send the genre supernova within the next five years.
“Bim Bom”, apparently considered the first bossa nova song, has the kind of Eurovision chorus that speaks volumes in any language, and the lush strings of “Manhć De Carnaval” sound tailored for the love theme from a major motion picture. The brassy, percussive blare that threads through “A Felicidade” and “O Nosso Amor” seems futuristic set against the rest of the album, perhaps because it prefigures the kind of world music adventuring Paul Simon would wander into a decade later.
Totally unobjectionable, these fifteen short tracks (three of which appear to be bonus tunes, although the packaging makes no mention of this) seem like one light, bright aural palate cleanser after another. They’d perform sterling service sprinkled as refreshers amidst a playlist of more, um, intense work, but played start to finish in a single serving they can be a bit much without the background distractions of clinking cocktails and refined chatter. It’s not bad, but maybe just a little too subtle.
Doxy’s vinyl reissue actually sounds quite good, as does the bonus CD of the album packaged with it. All that means, unfortunately, is that the company have found a quite good sounding source to copy the music from. As with the rest of their catalogue, it’s the product of an EU copyright loophole through which recordings older than 50 years old slip into the public domain, making unofficial issues such as this legal, if not decent, honest and truthful.