Tracks 2, 4, 7 to 9 recorded May 25, 1967 in New York
Tracks 1, 3, 5, 6, 10 to 12 recorded June 9 and 30, 1967 in New York
Original LP issue: Verve V6-8708
Tracks 13 to 17 recorded September 20, 1966 in New York
Original LP issue: Verve V6-8673 "A Certain Smile A Certain Sadness"
One of Gilberto's less impressive '60s Verve outings, primarily due to the more pop-oriented song selection. Much of this is just standard pleasant Gilberto: offhand vocals and a sumptuous Brazil pop-cum-U.S. orchestration feel (Ron Carter and Toots Thielemans are among the sidemen). And some of the pop choices work well, particularly Tim Hardin's gorgeous "Misty Roses." No vocals or arrangements, however, could save the criminally wrong-headed military march of "A Banda (Parade)," or the exasperatingly coochie-coochie duet between Gilberto and her six-year-old son on the Lovin' Spoonful's "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice." Which makes it all the more surprising when the next and concluding track, "Nao Bate O Corocao," has Gilberto cutting loose with confident, sassy scats, as she rarely did before or since. The CD reissue improves matters by adding five bonus cuts from A Certain Smile a Certain Sadness, recorded in 1966 in more authentically bossa nova-style arrangements, anchored by organist Walter Wanderley.
All Music Guide
========= from the cover ==========
"I feel a song should give you pleasure, whether or not you're dancing and even if you've heard it many times before." The girl doing the feeling and producing the results in this album is The Girl From Ipanema, Astrud Gilberto. Beautiful, incredibly musical, sensitive and direct, and still striving for a perfection everyone else has already granted her. Aslrud proves once again that art is no accident.
Here are a dozen tunes that meet Astrud's hopes and talent all the way. Arranged by Eumir Deodato, a young Brazilian whom Astrud had long admired but never met before these sessions, and by Don Sebesky, the unusually gifted American arranger, the music is performed by some of the most brilliant instrumentalists ever gathered together for one album. Flown in from the West Coast to enrich an unmistakable bossa nova authenticity were guitarist Marcos Valle (composer of the Walter Wanderley hit, "Summer Samba") and the fabulous master of Brazilian drums, Claudio Slon. Rhythms being so essential to this project, Bobby Rosengarden and Grady Tate were enlisted to form a trio of drummers that probably will never be surpassed. The selections are varied in mood and instrumentation, but the line-up of the full orchestra is clearly all-star.
Beach Samba includes some American standard pop tunes, some contemporary sounds, and even a straight march, but naturally enough, the dominant flavor is bossa nova. Astrud defines it as a recent and welcome departure from the old movie stereotype of Brazilian music. "The concept and lyrics are poetic, the beat is there but not heavyhanded or too obvious, the harmonies are rich."
Astrud is considered a "Carioca," a native of Rio de Janeiro, although the first two of her twenty-six years were passed in Bahia, her mother's birthplace. (Her father is a German-born painter, professor and linguist). Much has been said and written about her unique vocal style since the day she took a few minutes off from domestic chores to breathe the lyrics on the now-classic Verve album by Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz (V/V6-8545). The secret of Astrud's success? She knows her subject. Listen to these selections and judge for yourself:
Slay, features an exchange between Grady Tate and bassist Ron Carter, a flute solo by Hubert Laws, and an excellent example of how Astrud sustains some of those intentionally "desifinado" notes that have become a trademark.
The rainy-day mood of Tim Hardin's composition. Misty Roses, is enhanced by arranger Sebesky's use of low-register cellos, French horns and woodwinds. He uses the same technique on My Foolish Heart, which starts with a fantasy-like introduction and settles into a slow combo backing.
Parade sounds like every march combined, as Astrud rattles off the list of appropriate occasions, accompanied by military dram rolls, sliding trombones and the works.
Oba Oba is fun for arranger Deodato who uses a lullaby on celeste as an introduction to a swingy bossa nova in which Astrud offers a child his choice of zany goodies. Deodato also keeps Canoeiro moving fast, and the Portuguese lyrics keep the bossa pace.
The Face I Love has a lyric that stands up all by itself, with Ernie Royal blowing beautiful trumpet against a full, lush ensemble.
I Had the Craziest Dream, an old-timer, gets a new treatment, a Tijuana sound in which Sebesky substitutes flutes for trumpets. The head arrangement was done on the spot. Listen for the harpsichord and the weird ending.
Beach Samba is an ideal showcase for Astrud's voice. The lyrics are a few syllables repeated throughout, allowing her voice to be used as an instrument without benefit of words. Toots Thieleman's harmonica work is outstanding.
Dia Das Rosas has an up-dated Gersh-winesque sound and some exceptionally good English lyrics.
You Didn't Have To Be So Nice, a Lovin' Spoonful hit, is the only occasion where the spotlight may have been stolen from Astrud. Her six-year-old son, Marcello, shares the vocal in a charming number that uses no Brazilian influence whatsoever. Toots can be heard whistling and on harmonica in the Sebesky arrangement that calls for strong rhythm, clarinet and harpsichord.
Nao Bate O Coracdo is further justification of Astrud's confidence that Eumir Deodato is a man to watch. He wrote and arranged this combination rock-and-bossa nova (he also plays the strong piano solo). Astrud does a fine job on the lyrics by Norman Gimbel, who also wrote the words for the song with which Astrud began her career.
- Stan Levine