Rio de Janiero Blue
Aside from the title, there is very little on this CD to connect it with Brazil. Yeah, a couple of tunes are by Brazilian composers Tom Jobim and Edu Lobo, but the musicians are not Brazilian and the feel is not particularly Brazilian.
On the other hand, who cares?
This is a totally enjoyable disc by one of the most pleasant voices on the jazz scene today. And when he does shift into a bit of a tropical groove, it is a bit of a reminder of what brother Nat might have done with those classics of the bossa nova era; their voices and stylings still share many wonderful traits, though Freddy's smokiness reminds me more of Johnny Adams than that buttery smoothness of Nat. Joe Beck and Jerry Byrd on guitar add much to the overall mood, and pianist Arturo O'Farrill (son of Chico) punctuates here and there with just the right Latin feeling.
All in all, if you are looking for a bit of a mood disc, or something to just put on to mellow out with, you can't do much better than this. But next time he wants to paint that portrait of Rio, highly talented producer Todd Barkan ought to be able to scare up some real Brazilians there in the biggest of apples.