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Livestreams every Tuesday from 5 to 6:30pm on Mixcloud featuring DJ Kendo, plus 11 years of playlists and audio from the show "Jazz Greats" on WFCF St. Augustine!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Go-To Album 7

Astrud Gilberto's lone release on the CTI label, but a good one!

Astrud Gilberto - Gilberto with Turrentine

CTI 6008 - Audio sample below the review!

I'll be honest with you - I don't know much of Astrud Gilberto, musically (besides the famous collabs with former beau Getz) other than that her career was something of happenstance; a singer because Stan Getz said so. I was certainly not expecting to have my socks blown off sonically or emotionally when I acquired a vinyl copy a few months back.

Recorded in 1971 - this is CTI at the height of Creed Taylor's creative vision and strength; with chill, simplistic arrangements
ahead of their time by newcomer Deodato, extremely catchy and soothing Brazilian pop melodies wafting over sparkling guitars, triangle, electric piano & so-forth. Not to say the album doesn't have that dated, CTI sound; it does, but as in many of these recordings, the effect is not one of awkwardness, but of charm and enchantment. The luscious mixes are an aural delight, supporting and enhancing Gilberto's vocal assets. She sets the dreamy mood perfectly for "Brazilian Tapestry", caresses the lovely melodies of both "Zazueira" and especially "Ponteio", and is the perfect waif on 2 Bacharach/David numbers. Even "Solo e fine" ("For All We Know" of Carpenters fame) and "Theme from Love Story", both sung in Spanish, are surprisingly compelling, much less fluffy than you're imagining right now.

Astrud Gilberto circa 1964
The  addition of Stanley Turrentine was nothing short of genius. His engaged, soulful & expressive solos and interjections on some of the numbers make the recording wonderfully satisfying for jazz lovers. Obviously inspired by the arrangements, he lays down some of his best recorded work; even getting the haunting instrumental "Vera Cruz" to stretch out on. Also in the groove are Bob Mann on guitar, Airto on percussion, Ron Carter on bass, (Russell George takes the electric bass numbers) and even Toots Thielemans on harmonica!

Here is an important note, tho' - I am speaking about the mixes on the vinyl version, do not get the cd version! The cd has been remixed, much for the worse, with everything re-panned, reverb and delay removed, congas pulled way back and triangle pushed way up front - eek!! The remix leaves Astrud swinging in the breeze - way up front in the mix, with nothing to hide her frailties and occasional flatness. I am not overstating - it is like owning a different album - a very un-special one with little delight for your ears. If you have a turntable - don't even think twice. The vinyl is a highly rewarding experience.

Below I've posted my own gently remastered version of "Brazilian Tapestry" taken from the original vinyl. Enjoy! - DJ Kendo

Below is a link to some vinyl copies for sale on Amazon - when you use these links
to treat yourself, you also help support this blog! :)

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