Back in 1969, pianist Antonio Adolfo was working with vocalist Elis Regina. While touring through Sweden, Regina and her band had the opportunity to connect with Toots Thielemans, leading to the recording of Elis & Toots (Philips, 1969). Now, more than forty-five years later, Adolfo finds himself in a similar situation, working alongside another sunny Brazilian singer and European harmonica player—vocalist Carol Saboya, who happens to be his daughter, and vibraphonist/harmonica player Hendrik Meurkens.
Copa Village finds these three delivering a program of cheery originals and Antonio Carlos Jobim numbers. The album ostensibly draws a parallel between Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana sector and New York's Greenwich Village in the '50s and '60s; the music, however, does not. The cast may include New York-based Brazilians, and Copa Village may have been recorded in The Big Apple, but these sun-dappled songs don't speak to the intense and gritty attitude of that city. This beautiful music flows in the Brazilian breeze, inducing smiles and soothing ears as it flies along.
The album opens with "The Girl From Ipanema/Garota De Ipanema," giving Saboya a chance to work through both the English and Portuguese lyrics connected to this oft-covered song. From there, it's off to the chipper, choro-ish title track, Meurkens' "Show De Bola," and Jobim's lesser-known "O Boto." Each one is different and distinct, yet all are winsome in nature. There are reflective moments to be found further down the line, as everybody slowly glides along on "Pois é" and gently coasts through "Visão," but gaiety and effervescence often win out on this outing. Saboya, Adolfo, and Meurkens prove to be a well-matched set of charmers, delivering seductive and stylish songs in seemingly effortless fashion.
Track Listing: The Girl From Ipanema/Garota De Ipanema; Copa Village; Show De Bola; O Boto; Como Se Fosse; Agua De Beber; Pois E; Pretty World; Two Kites; Nosso Mundo; Visao.
Personnel: Carol Saboya: vocals; Hendrik Meurkens: harmonica, vibraphone; Antonio Adolfo: piano; Claudio Spiewak: acoustic guitars, electric guitars; Itaiguara Brandao: bass; Adriano Santos: drums; Andre Siquera: percussion.