Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"On her second visit to the Blue Note Jazz club in New York, Gal Costa presented pretty much the same selections that she had played during her first visit in the spring of 2006 (the set list was almost in the same order as her CD Live At The Blue Note, released on the DRG label last September). This being the third night of her residence, her voice was already showing signs of fatigue; she did, however, turn on the charm, locking eyes with the patrons who were sitting in the front row and also turning around and facing those sitting in awkward places inside the club.
She opened with "Fotografia" and "Desafinado" (both Jobim compositions), and stated that she was very happy to return to this small venue (on her previous tours, she had played in places like Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center), and felt that this intimate setting was like performing "in my living room."
Costa then introduced "Chega de Saudade" (No More Blues), the song that de facto began the bossa nova craze in Brazil as well as Stateside (it was Joao Gilberto's first single, released in 1959). "This song changed my life, and changed music in Brazil," she said before the band kicked in.
One of the highlights of the show was "I Fall In Love Too Easily," a song popularized by Chet Baker (it was also recorded by Frank Sinatra and more recently by Tony Bennett), whose work Costa is paying tribute to on an upcoming album. She seems very comfortable singing in English (which she has done since the beginning of her career), even though she admits that her English skills "are not that great."
One crowd favorite is "Nada Além," a song written by the late Mario Lago that features solely the accompaniment of bassist Jurim Moreira and finger snaps from the audience; the singalong session for the bilingual version of "The Girl from Ipanema" was also repeated, even though the iconic tune has just been played too much.
The only new tune was "Chora Tua Tristeza" (Cry to Your Sadness), an obscure Dorival Caymmi song that has never been committed to disc by Costa herself. The lyrics speak of a Baiana who cries of a love long lost.
It was the consensus of the members of our party that Costa seemed a little jaded on this occasion; perhaps the novelty of playing small rooms has already worn thin for her (she also played the Blue Note's sister venues in Japan not too long ago) and, despite her charm, her great interpretative skills and her smiles, her eyes showed that she couldn't wait to end her obligation. We felt the same when we joined several die-hard fans and ventured upstairs to meet her; she obligingly signed autographs and posed for pictures, but one sensed that deep inside all she longed for was to head back to her Manhattan apartment; interview requests by journalists in attendance were bluntly turned down.
Her personal priorities did not, however, affect her performance; she entertained her audience well, and the applause she received was well deserved." -AllAboutJazz
"For the set list of her first-ever appearance at New York's Blue Note last May, Gal Costa chose to sing material that influenced her growing up. Aware that she had to be as minimalist as possible, she chose a simple backing quartet of guitar, bass, drums and saxophone.
The disc, which was recorded over two of her five nights at the club, opens with three Jobim classics, "Fotografia ("Photo"), "Desafinado ("Off Key") and "Chega de Saudade ("No More Blues"), all songs featured on her 1999 tribute album Gal Sings Jobim (Universal). On this album, she invited the audience to sing along with her, and many Brazilians must have been in the audience, as the voices do not simply follow the melody, but actually sing the words with her.
The mood changes a bit as they took on Ary Barroso's "Camisa Amarela ("Yellow Shirt"), a song written in the '30s that Costa had previously recorded on her MTV Unplugged album. In the words, a woman tells how her lover wears a worn yellow shirt as he enjoys the four-day Carnaval festivities, only to burn it when Ash Wednesday comes along. She also pays tribute to the genius of João Gilberto by taking on two songs from his usual setlist: "Pra Machucar Meu Coração, a tune featured on 1964's landmark Getz/Gilberto album, and "Ave-Maria do Morro, a traditional song about life in the slums of Rio de Janeiro.
The highlights are the bluesy take on Mario Lago's "Nada Além, which featured bassist Jorin Moreira and about 200 snapping fingers, and "As Time Goes By, which had a very subtle bossa nova arrangement that highlighted the chops of guitarist Adriano Moreira.
The night, however, was an unspoken tribute to Jobim, and she went through other songs from his songbook, such as "Wave, "A Felicidade and one of his rare collaborations with Dorival Caymmi, "Copacabana.
The album closes with "The Girl From Ipanema, sung in English and Portuguese, and Ary Barroso's "Brazil. It is obvious that Costa seems to enjoy playing in a smaller venue (which she had never done before), and she gives a very relaxed performance. During "Ipanema, she handed the mic to some of the audience members and she also cracked self-deprecating jokes at her English skills.
At 61, her voice still sounds amazingly youthful and fresh and shows no sign of strain or stress. In contrast to her performances in larger venues, the audience had a chance to see a more intimate side of the singer over the course of this live recording." -AllAboutJazz
Personnel: Gal Costa; Marcus Teixeira, Zé Canuto, Jurim Moreira, Adriano Giffoni.
The consummate Brazilian singer Gal Costa performs a selection of bossa nova in an intimate setting at New York's Blue Note club in 2006. Delicate, yet with an underlying tough sexiness, Costa's voice is the perfect vehicle for such bossa classics as "Corcovado," "Garota De Ipanema," and "Pra Manchucar Meu Coracao," while the small group accompaniment subtly frames her vocals with guitar, percussion, and flute.