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December 2002

Eden Atwood
Waves: The Bossa Nova Session (SACD)
Groove Note Records

Eden Atwood, back after too long an absence, remains as refreshingly inventive as ever with Waves: The Bossa Nova Session (Groove Note). Echoing that peculiarly American brand of mid-'60s Brazilian pop-jazz practiced by everyone from London and Lee to Mathis and Sinatra, Waves sounds like the sort of album you'd hear Mrs. Robinson spin in her zebra-striped rumpus room. Atwood, who occupies a comfortable vocal berth just north of Joanie Sommers and a bit south of Anita O'Day, is especially good at adding a refreshing splash of effervescence to overworked favorites. Balancing a peppery "O Pato" with a deliciously self-delusional "Meditation," she then contrasts the fantasy-fueled wistfulness of "Girl From Ipanema" with the reflective melancholy of "Once Upon a Summertime." Paying gentle homage to Sergio Mendes with "Fool on the Hill," Atwood does a commendable job of capturing the dusky allure of Lani Hall. She also manages, where so many others have failed, to temper the typically pyrotechnic "Brazil" with a relaxed simplicity that seems more genuinely celebratory. Through it all, she uses that barely detectable rasp of hers-that enchanting hairline crack in an otherwise crystalline voice-to superb advantage.

Originally published in December 2002
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