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Three Guitars In Bossa Nova Time

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Album Review

The title Three Guitars in Bossa Nova Time is misleading in that only two guitars in any instance play the material, while tenor saxophonist Bob Enevoldsen is more important to the overall sound of the music than any other performer. In the main, Herb Ellis and Laurindo Almeida take charge on most of the songs, certainly all bossa novas and light sambas, accompanied by the pianist Donn Trenner (who worked on television with Steve Allen), bassist Bob Bertaux, lesser-known percussionists Bob Neel or Chico Guerrero, the more famous Milt Holland, and guitarist Johnny Gray on three tracks in place of Almeida. All of these selections are familiar, whether as Brazilian songs or Latinized mainstream jazz, while Ellis is upfront in the mix and definitely the leader. While one guitar is initially off the beat on "You Stepped Out of a Dream," Ellis and Almeida are merged together with Enevoldsen in fuller proportions during the fine take of "But Beautiful" with some good solo step-outs, and play in harmonically inventive tones for the very nice "Bossa Nova Samba." Enevoldsen, a multi-instrumentalist known more for playing the trombone, is as cool and smooth as Stan Getz on the melody of the Carnival beat-driven "Leave It to Me," and the spare, careful "Bossa Nova #2." Gray joins Ellis for the more jazz-oriented pieces, including the simple, laid-back "Sweet Dreams," the more commanding "Low Society Blues," where things with the entire combo really come together, and the famous Ray Brown evergreen "Gravy Waltz," made richly harmonic and memorable unto itself. "Detour Ahead" is turned into a bossa and is well done here, but the swinging version might be preferable to those who know this classic song well. On the other hand, the outstanding "I Told Ya' I Love Ya', Now Get Out" is a better adaptation with call and response squawking between Enevoldsen and Ellis perfectly depicting a couple's spat. This interesting 1963 prelude session from Ellis and Almeida together marked the beginnings of a tuneful and spicy partnership, and is a worthwhile addition and longstanding buried treasure in the discography of all participants. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi


Born: August 4, 1921 in Farmersville, TX

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

An excellent bop-based guitarist with a slight country twang to his sound, Herb Ellis became famous playing with the Oscar Peterson Trio during 1953-1958. Prior to that, he had attended North Texas State University and played with the Casa Loma Orchestra, Jimmy Dorsey (1945-1947), and the sadly under-recorded trio Soft Winds. While with Peterson, Ellis was on some Jazz at the Philharmonic tours and had a few opportunities to lead his own dates for Verve, including his personal favorite, Nothing But...
Full Bio
Three Guitars In Bossa Nova Time, Herb Ellis
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Bop
  • Released: Jan 16, 1963

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