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Vinicius Cantuária: Vinicius Canta Antonio Carlos Jobim

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According to bestselling author, psychologist, neuroscientist and musician Daniel J. Levitin, we all start to construct our personal musical boundaries at age 14 and have firmly set those parameters by age 24. So, for Brazilian singer, songwriter, guitarist and percussionist Vinicius Cantuária, born in 1951 in the Amazonian city of Manaus but raised in Rio, his formative years coincided precisely with the bossa-nova movement’s global domination. Which helps explain why, though his professional history began with rock and neo-Brazilian music, Cantuária is so exceptionally attuned to the unique flavors and nuances of classic bossa gems.

Cantuária, who also serves as producer and arranger, favors a less-is-more approach throughout this 13-track tribute, his soft, sand-dusted voice rarely raised above a whisper. Though ostensibly a solo project, he welcomes an array of guests, some harkening back to the music’s roots and expansion, others more closely aligned with Cantuária’s current jazz life in New York.

Bill Frisell, Cantuária’s co-leader for 2011’s Lágrimas Mexicanas, again proves a simpatico mate, providing stunning electric accompaniment on “Só Danço Samba” and “Inútil Paisagem.” Pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto-who, earlier this century, twice paid album-length homage to Jobim-gently steers “Eu Não Existo Sem Você” and “Por Causa de Vocé,” and Melody Gardot’s tremulousness twines beautifully on “Insensatez.” For hardcore bossa enthusiasts, though, the most exciting additions are guitarist Ricardo Silveira, shaping a serene “Garota de Ipanema,” and legendary vocalist Joyce, caressing “Caminhos Cruzados.”

Originally Published