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Bossa Nova at 50

Luciana Souza

Los Angeles has long been a natural geo-cultural way station for Brazilian music, and not only because of the parallel weather realities and an easy-does-it spirit between Brazil and Southern California. Musically, there have also been certain affinities between the two locales, between the sophistication and lyrical understatement in sub-currents such as “West Coast cool” and the deceptively sensuous yet musically complex textures we’ve come to know and love from Brazil. When the setting is right and the stars-musically and fate-wise-align, Brazilian music just somehow feels good and in its element, in Los Angeles, especially in such a venue as classic as the Hollywood Bowl.

Brazilian music is a frequent houseguest during the Hollywood Bowl’s summer season, so it hardly needed a milestone excuse to settle into the famed outdoor venue. But it didn’t hurt to have a festive anniversary overlay in the case of the recent “Bossa Nova at 50” concert, presided over by pioneering Brazilian musician Oscar Castro-Neves and featuring the sumptuous arrangement and conducting handiwork of Vince Mendoza.

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