Friday, June 29, 2012

Quincy Jones - Big Band Bossa Nova (1964)

For the next few albums, I'm trying to post things that remind me of summer. There's something about bossa nova and its Brazilian origin that remind me of summer and some great memories. This album is undoubtedly a product of its time, released in the height of the bossa nova craze. However, that's not to say that it's bad at all. It is a mixture of well-known bossa nova classics such as "Desafinado," "Manha de Carnaval" from the film Black Orpheus, and "One Note Samba." Yet, there are some bossa nova originals such as "Soul Bossa Nova," famous for its use in the Austin Powers films and "Lalo Bossa Nova" from composer/arranger Lalo Schifrin. In fact, this whole album is arranged by Lalo, so the arrangements are of a very high quality. Anyone who is the musical director for Dizzy Gillespie knows what they are doing when they arrange. The strangest aspect of this album are the tracks "On the Street Where You Live" from the musical My Fair Lady and "Boogie Stop Shuffle" from the 1959 Mingus album Mingus Ah Um which are arranged in a bossa nova style. This album was released in the same year Jones was promoted to vice president of Mercury Records so he obviously had a lot of control over this record. His position in the company probably explains the high quality of the personnel on the record including such greats as Phil Woods, Clark Terry, Lalo Schifrin, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk who plays the famous flute part on "Soul Bossa Nova." In some ways this is an album that is a novelty, but when you review the music and the minds behind it, it's worth giving a listen. This particular version has two bonus tracks including "Chega de Saudade (No More Blues)" and "A Taste of Honey."

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