Bebel Gilberto - All in One
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Bebel Gilberto
All in One

Is Bebel Gilberto the George W Bush of bossa nova - someone who, to paraphrase the saying, was born on third base without hitting a triple? Gilberto is the daughter of bossa nova forefather Joao Gilberto (though not the daughter of his first wife, Astrud Gilberto, who was the iconic voice of her husband's breakthough "Girl from Ipanema). With that pedigree behind her, the world was immediately ready to crown her the queen of the new bossa movement, which used atmospheric electronics to re-create bossa's cool sound.

Her 2000 debut Tanto Tempo was successful commercially, even if many bossaheads were dismissive of her laid-back music. They argue that the original bossa of Joao Gilberto was spare, but still sophisticated. The notoriously idiosyncratic Joao labored endlessly to distill samba down to its essence while maintaining its rhythmic power and complexity. That said, Bebel's success has been her own. She has specialized in music that is quiet and gently swinging, but she has moved outside samba's rhythms to create an internationally accessible pop. At her best, she is a sweet, sexy and seductive songstress, elsewhere her music is forgettable.

On her latest, she makes audible her dual allegiance to Brazil and America. She even sings "Bim Bom" a bossa chestnut written by her dad, as well as stretching back even further with a playful recreation of "Chica Chica Boom," made famous by Carmen Miranda. However, she also covers Stevie Wonder with a version of "The Real Thing" (featuring the Dap Kings) that sounds retro enough to seem like it is from an Austin Powers soundtrack - the "typical" American concept of bossa nova chanteusing. Elsewhere she touches base with Brazil, collaborating with Carlinhos Brown and Daniel Jobim, grandson of Antonio Carlos Jobim.

The album overall is an easy-to-like listen with a beguiling swing and a sweet, if somewhat remote presence. Bebel probably is not the revolutionary that her father was, but ironically she has ended up in a place that some may find not that far from where he dragged Brazilian music 50 years ago. - Marty Lipp

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