Copa Village, by Pierre Giroux – Audiophile Audition

One might imagine that it would be difficult to find new ways to probe the bossa nova, including one of it’s greatest exponents and composers: Antonio Carlos Jobim. Not so however, when it is placed in the hands of sympathetic musicians. The result is an interesting and innovative take on the genre in a new release entitled Copa Village.

The fresh ears who take the leading roles in this session are a Brazilian father-and-daughter team of pianist Antonio Adolfo and singer Carol Saboya, plus a German-American Hendrik Meurkens, who has a Brazilian sensibility whether playing the harmonica or vibraphone. Therefore it should not be a surprise for the album to lead off with one of the most influential bossa nova hits, Jobim’s “The Girl From Ipanema". Whether listening to this interpretation, or that of any of the other well-known bossa tunes reprised on this album, it is best not to dabble in nostalgia for those iconic interpretations, but accept the renditions as offered. Thus for “Ipanema," Meurkens’ harmonica adds a dimension that works well over the slight but breathy vocal by Saboya who interacts seamlessly with pianist Adolfo.

The title composition “Copa Village" written by Adolfo and Meurkens is a sprightly little ditty that has Saboya offering her vocalese contribution to the tune which succeeds appropriately. “Agua De Beber" is another well-known Jobim piece which the band takes on in a lively fashion with Saboya doing the vocal in Portuguese supported by the rhythm section doing a masterful job in keeping the bossa flavour intact. “Pretty World" with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman which picked up some popular air-play back in the day, opens with Adolfo’s piano, then Saboya slides into the lyrics in English, with Meurkens rounding out the tune with a fine harmonica solo that keeps pace with the structure of the tune. The final track, “Visão" by Adolfo and Tiberio Gaspar, is a haunting melody with Saboya again giving a lovely wordless vocal that fits with the spirit of the composition, and pianist Adolfo taking a lengthy solo turn that plays to his strength.

TrackList: The Girl From Ipanema/Garota De Ipanema; Copa Village; Show De Bola; O Boto; Como Se Fosse; Agua De Beber; Pois É; Pretty World; Two Kites; Nosso Mundo; Visão

—Pierre Giroux