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Julie Dexter & Khari Simmons: Moon Bossa

There are some people-myself being one of them-who will take note of any CD with the word “bossa” in the title. Moon Bossa is a title simply too evocative to ignore, so a listen was required. Now, it’s not the most challenging bossa CD you’re likely to encounter, but most of it is easy like a Sunday Rio morning. British neo-soul singer Julie Dexter, who now lives in Atlanta, has a charming, Dionne Warwick-like quality to her vocals, while Khari Simmons handles the instrumentation like a pro. Simmons, who has toured as a bassist with India.Arie, has pounded the soul-bossa drums since forming the group Jiva more than a decade ago.

A few of the vocal tunes are forgettable, but a few rise to the top. Simmons’ “Sea and Sky” is a tribute to the fun Brazilian bossa organ music of Walter Wanderley, and Dexter’s scatting is appealing. Dexter’s version of “Promises” by Basia-another bossa buff-is pleasing but a bit mechanical. Jobim’s much-admired “Wave” is a quiet vocal-and-guitar piece massaged by a trumpet solo.

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