Rosemary Clooney: Brazil

Flirting throughout Brazil with the puckish samba guitar of John Pizzarelli, grand dame diva Rosemary Clooney signs, stamps and sends 16 laid-back, lovely postcards from the land where “the mountains and the sea [are] bathed in a lavender light I had never seen before.” And while special guests such as Diana Krall and Paulinho da Costa occasionally drop by to sip a caprinha and help Clooney celebrate her Brazilian getaway, the spotlight of the Rio moon never strays far from the featured star. With the singer’s register-climbing voice dripping with the wit, wisdom, and heartache of her accumulated years, Brazil plays like impeccably produced end-credits music for one of Blake Edwards’ middle-agers-in-love movies. (Clooney in a 10 sequel, perhaps? Can I call Bo Derek?) “Boy From Ipanema” is a sultry and seductive gender-appropriate twist on the Jobim classic, with Clooney and Krall trading verses in pursuit of a young South American hottie. And the title track, made famous by Sinatra on Come Fly With Me, is a sweeping seven-minute affair broken down into a sparse guitar opening, a piano-fueled middle and an all-out big-band finale featuring a tireless Clooney leading the party back to her bungalow.