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August 2008

Doug Munro
Big Boss Bossa Nova 2.0
Chase Music Group

After a string of gritty organ-group dates, guitarist Doug Munro hit on an appealing concept with 2004’s Big Boss Bossa Nova, which blended originals and jazz standards performed on nylon-string acoustic guitar and reconfigured through a Brazilian sensibility. On this followup, which continues that winning formula, Munro again summons up warm, alluring tones on nylon-string acoustic. With spare accompaniment from bassist Michael Goetz alongside either Jason Anderson or Jason Devlin splitting the drum chair, Munro runs through an exhilarating program that includes a faithful rendition of Chick Corea’s “Spain” as well as bossa-nova takes on Sonny Rollins’ “Blue Seven,” Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower” and Wayne Shorter’s “Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum.” He switches to steel-string guitar for a unique bossa-nova interpretation of Thelonious Monk’s “Bemsha Swing.”

Munro’s originals here include the rhythmically charged “Something I Heard,” in which he navigates a challenging head with demanding intervallic leaps on steel-string acoustic, the jaunty “A Day at the Races” (his take on Dizzy Gillespie’s Afro-Cuban bebop classic “A Night in Tunisia”) and the hymnlike closer “Prayer” (reminiscent of Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”). Guitar aficionados and bossa-nova-philes will be delighted.

Originally published in August 2008
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