In 1991 Joao Gilberto commemorated a glittering career with the release of “Joao.” After years of not releasing original compositions, this album stands out as his only work in that category for the entire decade. Undoubtedly, it stands out for much more as well.
“Eu Sambo Mesmo” or “I really like to samba” is a mid-tempo song done in an insouciantmanner where Gilberto’s voice and guitar dominate and the strings are introduced in a minor role. It’s a bright opener and a memorable track. Despite this, Una Mujer’s (another highlight) lazy strings and heavy use of orchestration is a better demonstration of the album’s general feel.
The languid orchestral background provided by Clare fischer and his expansive group of musician sets the stage for Gilberto throughout the album. Complementary to this, Gilberto’s fresh compositions and laid-back performances bode well with the Fischer’s arrangement and there is a synergistic quality between the two elements.
“Sampa” best represents the successful merger of these two elements. Subtle and yet powerful Joao’s playing and singing melts into Fischer’s creeping arrangement.
Diverging from his typical style “Joao” may be an acquired taste for die-hard listeners of Joao Gilberto and bossa nova. Evidently, it does sound better the more times you listen to it. Never the less, Gilberto succeeds at re-inventing his sound in a creative but subtle way. With worldwide recognition and 4 decades of music behind him on “Joao” he sounds exactly as he should – relaxed and assured.
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Release Date: December 22, 1992
1.I Really Samba
6.My heart and I
7.You Do Something to Me
9.Ave Maria on the Hill
11.Smiled at Me
12.I Wish You Love