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Playful Heart

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Album Review

The beloved Brazilian guitar legend's resumé is so chock-full of varied musical experiences — jazz, pop, film scoring, ten years with Sergio Mendes — that his brilliant solo efforts can't help but include informal homages to different eras of his life. He starts out here getting straight to the heart of the matter, paying tribute to his fellow countryman Antonio Carlos Jobim with a self-contained plucky guitar/vocal duet of "Waters of March," which includes spirited scat passages. He moves into samba mode for a lively medley of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker tunes, "Groovin' High/Whispering," deferring to Toots Thielemans' always engaging harmonica for melody as he harmonizes gently; then they switch roles. His other medley is a wilder, more percussive mix of a standard and an original, "Lorry's Swing/Autumn Leaves." Mixing modes, tempos, and moods, he mines standards ("Watch What Happens," "My Foolish Heart") and Brazilian classics (more by Jobim and Luiz Bonfá), and offers a dreamy take on "The Fool on the Hill," the Beatles song that Mendes made a famous cover of. No matter the rhythm pattern, outside percussion influence, or ensemble contribution (Don Grusin and Gary Meek make notable contributions), the soul of each tune is Castro-Neves' precise, melodic strings. From the diversity of this disc, it's clear he has a lot of beautiful memories to play with.


Born: May 15, 1940 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Oscar Castro-Neves was a gifted Brazilian musician who lived in the U.S. after 1966. Besides his important contribution to the movement usually known as bossa nova, he also took part in projects with Joe Henderson (including their performances at the JVC Jazz Festival) and other great names of jazz, such as Dave Grusin, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, and others. As a producer, arranger, and orchestrator, he worked on many artists' albums, conducting some of them; at the same time, he wrote music...
Full Bio
Playful Heart, Oscar Castro-Neves
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Sep 23, 2003

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