Copa Village, by Egidio Leitão –

The results are nothing short of amazing, as Copa Village shows. Copa Village was produced and arranged by Antonio Adolfo (piano) and brings back Carol Saboya‘s tranquil and heart-warming vocals along with the exhilarating addition of Hendrik Meurkens‘ jazzy harmonica and vibraphone to this fine album. The other members of the ensemble are familiar names in the Antonio Adolfo discography: Claudio Spiewak (guitars), Itaiguara Brandão (bass), Adriano Santos (drums) and André Siqueira (percussion).

So, what is the story behind the album repertoire and its name? It’s probably clear to Brazilian music lovers, but here it goes. Copacabana is the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood equivalent to New York’s 52nd Street. It was in Copacabana, and most notably at the famous Beco das Garrafas (Bottle Alley) nightclub that in the 1960s familiar names such as Sergio Mendes, Luiz Eça, Baden Powell, Sylvinha Telles, Alaíde Costa, Johnny Alf and so many others made Bossa Nova a household name. Around the same period, in New York’s Greenwich Village, a similar movement was taking place with musicians and fans alike living the new developments in jazz. Those two locations gave birth to the concept of Copa Village.

Although some of the music here dates back to more than half a century ago, these tracks will sound very contemporary thanks to the impressive arrangements and solid performances. The repertoire will surprise you, as it did for me. As in any history of Bossa Nova, the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim must be present. Copa Village features five Jobim tracks, including the second most recorded song in the world, “The Girl from Ipanema," along with other less performed beauties such as “O Boto." Besides Antonio’s piano and Carol’s vocals, the exceptional Hendrik Meurkens is featured in the harmonica and on vibraphone (one track only). It is no mystery the affinity Hendrik has with Brazilian music. Here in MB I have reviewed two of his previous albums, Sambatropolis and New York Samba Jazz Quintet. They can give you a glimpse of the fine work Hendrik has been creating in his performances of Brazilian music.