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Bebel Gilberto: Tudo

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Though her lineage is Brazilian jazz royalty, Bebel Gilberto has long seemed more Miami than Rio, favoring electronica-tinged, get-the-party-started dance tracks. Perhaps, though, as the remarkably youthful Gilberto nears 50, she’s decided it’s time to abandon the club scene in favor of earthier pursuits. Tudo, her first album in five years, seems a purposeful return to her familial roots.

The predominantly acoustic album recalls the intense musicality of her father, João Gilberto, blended with both the gossamer subtlety of Astrud Gilberto (her father’s first wife) and the meatier expressiveness of her mother, vocalist Miúcha. Combining classic and original compositions, sung in Portuguese, English and French, it is a triumph of richly expressive understatement with a distinctly 1960s bossa feel.

Gilberto tiptoes in with her own, dreamy “Somewhere Else,” then immediately turns a shade darker on the hypnotic “Nada Não,” sultry “Tom de Voz” and soothing “Areia.” (Only once, on the mildly fevered “Tout est Bleu,” does any hint of her roistered past bleed through.) The covers are judiciously chosen, including Luiz Bonfá’s blissfully atmospheric “Saudade Vem Correndo,” a bilingual reading of Jobim’s tender “Vivo Sonhando” (“Dreamer”) and a shimmering wade through Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” But the album’s heart is a satin-on-sandpaper union with one of Gilberto’s most dynamic contemporaries, guitarist

Originally Published