Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Bim Bom" - Step Tempest review

Bim Bom: The Complete João Gilbert Songbook - Ithamara Koorax & Juarez Moreira (Motema)
Posted by CultureCreature
Reviewed by Richard B. Kamins

Voice, acoustic guitar and the music of João Gilberto, who could ask for much more, especially when the vocalist is the highly impressive Ms. Koorax. How best to describe this CD? The words "lovely" and "intensely melodic" easily come to mind. It's so easy to fall under the spell of this short (barely 41 minutes) but ever-so -sweet. Guitarist Moreira is up to the task of playing melodically yet keeping the rhythms flowing on the uptempo tunes, such as the title track and the disk's only purely instrumental piece, "An Embrace to Bonfa."

The hypnotic "Undiu", with its droning low strings and nearly wordless vocals, is one of the finer cuts as is "Valsa (Bebel)", written for Gilberto's oldest daughter (who now is one of the most popular singers from Brazil.) The latter track features an overdubbed guitar solo and has a sound that might have influenced the songwriting of Paul Simon. Moreira overdubs electric guitar on the English language version of "Hô-ba-lá-lá" that closes the program.

Ithamara Koorax has such a fine voice with an easy delivery that rings true throughout the program. Moreira's guitar is the perfect partner, always supportive, with clear, articulated, lines and short pithy solos. João Gilberto's music has rarely sounded better.

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