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Luiz Bonfá: The Brazilian Scene

Album Notes

Along with Baden Powell and Laurindo Almeida (who came earlier), composer Luiz Bonfa ("Manha da Carnaval") was one of the prime Brazilian guitarists during bossa nova's heyday, releasing a string of American instrumental albums all through the '60s. (Charlie Byrd, who first introduced the music here, gave them all competition from the American side.) THE BRAZILIAN SCENE, recorded in 1966, features jazz flutist Jerome Richardson and arranger Hal Mooney, but it's mostly a showcase for Bonfa's strong classical guitar. Heavily influenced by Andres Segovia, Bonfa favors a more highly structured approach than the introspective Powell or the jazzy Almeida, producing a bright, aggressive sound that cuts right through the easy-listening arrangments. (The opening, "Avocado," even bears a small resemblance to the Tijuana Brass.) Though there are no bossa nova standards this time out, the light and breezy set is divided between Bonfa originals and choice covers such as "Yesterday" and "That Old Black Magic," on which the guitarist jauntily riffs in a syncopated samba, along with Brazilian drummer Helcio Milito.


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