The 60’s was a golden decade for bossa nova and Quincy Jones. For both, it brought an increased mainstream prominence amongst North American audiences (and by extension global audiences). Released in 1964, “Big Band Bossa Nova” brought both together for the first time.

Of course this was not an entirely unique endeavor  Several American acts had already experimented with this new sensation. However, what separates this album from the others is the musical direction taken. As the name suggests this is a big band ensemble performing bossa nova compositions.

Big Band Bossa Nova - Quincy Jones

Big Band Bossa Nova – Quincy Jones

The album starter “Soul Bossa Nova” is the only original song and is the albums most instantly recognizable track. The tantalizing melody is performed masterfully by Quincy’s well assembled band of talented musicians and notably features a very effective use of the cuica. Though not a completely homogeneous blend of styles it does exhibit a successful mix of elements from both realms. Still, it’s clear the track is more swing than bossa and this sets the tone for the rest of the album.

The familiar sparse arrangements and understated ambiance that are customary with bossa nova are replaced by a harder hitting sound achieved by an omnipresent brass section. In many ways the sound of this album is the very antithesis of the genre it is named after.

Though not inherently flawed, the big band style does not capture the essence of original compositions such as “Desafinado” and generally seems inappropriate. “Big Band Boss Nova” is a unique and interesting departure for both Quincy Jones and bossa nova but ultimately it adds little to either catalogue. Not a bad album but certainly not essential listening.

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Released: 1962

Recorded :Aug-Sep 1962.

Genre: Bossa Nova, Jazz, Swing,

Length: 35:02

Label: Mercury

Producer:Quincy Jones

1.”Soul Bossa Nova”(Quincy Jones)

2.”Boogie Stop Shuffle”(Charles Mingus)

3.”Desafinado”(Antonio Carlos Jobim, Newton Mendonça)

4.”Manhã De Carnaval (Morning Of The Carnival)”(Luiz Bonfá, Antonio Maria)

5.”Se É Tarde Me Perdoa (Forgive Me If I’m Late)”(Ronaldo Boscoli, Carlos Lyra)

6.”On the Street Where You Live”(Frederick Loewe, Alan Jay Lerner)

7.”One Note Samba (Samba De Uma Nota So)”(Antonio Carlos Jobim, Newton Mendonça)

8.”Lalo Bossa Nova”(Lalo Schifrin )

9.”Serenata”(Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish)

10.”Chega de Saudade (No More Blues)”(Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vincius de Moraes)

11.”A Taste of Honey”(Bobby Scott, Ric Marlow)