The first sound you hear on this collaboration between maverick pianist/composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and Jacques and Paula Morelenbaum ó Brazilian bossa nova royalty ó is that of Sakamoto tickling the ivories on Antonio Carlos Jobimís piano in the late composerís home in Rio. These 17 short, polished takes on Jobim compositions ó some famous, many obscure, some never before recorded ó were captured right there in the Jobim salon, with Ryuichi at the piano, Jacques on cello, and Paula singing those liquid bossa nova melodies with vibratoless perfection.
The feeling is intimate and easy throughout. Bossa nova seduced the world with its cool, understated marriage of jazz harmony and samba rhythms, but Jobimís gift of melody was crucial to the genreís success, and this groupís ability to find so much new in the music all these years later is testimony to the composerís genius. Two tracks bring in acoustic guitar and percussion, but overall the session is tightly disciplined and true to the style without being restrained or reverential. The balance among the three sounds ó gently percussive piano, purring cello, and soaring vocals as refreshing as a cool breeze on a slow summer day ó is magical.