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Joao Donato: The New Sound of Brazil: Piano of Joao Donato

Album Notes

This very evocative 1965 recording session was a cause for celebration not only among critics but among the bossa nova-crazed audiences of Brazil and the U.S, and it sold quite well. Donato is a jazz pianist first, and his allegiances in harmony and melody come from there first and foremost. But rhythmically and in his phrasing, he comes from the generation of Brazilian musicians who developed the bossa nova as an art form. His touch is light, his settings are lush and laid-back, and his playing is as much or more from his left hand as his right. Solos on these records are wonderfully improvised, but they reflect the sweet, gorgeous melodies on the front line of these tunes. As such, Donato comes across as an elegant pianist and ensemble player, establishing his individual touch as a leader in that left hand rhythmic bent where he loves those shaded keys. His finest compositions here are his own: the sensual "Amazon," the slightly sassy and savvy "It Didn't End," and his reading of Luiz Bonfá's "Samba de Orfeu," which rivals the original for its ambience and texture with a gorgeous string arrangement courtesy of conductor Claus Ogerman. This is one of Brazil's more moving and beautiful bossa albums, and should not be overlooked by recent fans of the genre or by jazz fans interested in the exotic side of the music. ~ Thom Jurek


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