Dave Brubeck ‘Bossa Nova USA (Essential Jazz Classics) 4/5

brubeckBrazil 2014 may still be some six months away, but the music industry is slowly gearing itself up for another helping of Brazilian musical retromania and here is an early example of how the bossa nova craze was received in the United States. In actual fact the album is typical of the classic quartet era for Brubeck and the compositions are either by the leader, or interestingly re-working of Rodgers and Hart songbook standards. This makes the recording quite different from the archetypal rehashing of Jobim et al tunes. An original uptempo samba ‘Cantiga nova swing’ impresses with some lovely Carnavalesque timbres from Morello on drums while a Teo Macero original ‘Tender heart’ is a vehicle for altoist Paul Desmond to caress the melody as only he knows how. Indeed Desmond dominates proceedings to glorious effect on the mid-tempo number ‘Vento fresco’ which also features a meditative solo from the leader. The extremely generous bonus tracks add three different numbers from the same 1962 session as the original LP plus another four from the same year. At just under eighty minutes this represents excellent value fro money and in general the album is a worthy addition to the Brubeck discography. Tim Stenhouse