Sylvia Telles was the first female bossa nova singer; with Dolores Duran and Maysa, the most influential of her generation. She was the finest interpreter of the songs of one of the greatest songwriters of the twentieth century, the Brazilian master, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and she was his favourite vocalist.
Toninho Horta has been a reliable sideman and occasionally a leader in his lengthy career playing contemporary Brazilian music. The acoustic and electric guitarist has a quiet intensity that reflects the passion and verve of genius composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. This tribute to Jobim is quite laden with string charts, most done quite tastefully, rarely overarranged, and pleasantly emphasizing a flute section. Horta has an impressive complementary combo of pianist Dave Kikoski, bassist Gary Peacock, percussionists Paulo Braga and Manolo Badrena, special guests as saxophonist Bob Mintzer, harmonicist William Galison, trumpeter Glenn Drewes, Charles Pillow on oboe, John Clark on French horn, and several members of the large Horta family.
In some ways, this is a strategic retreat for Antonio Carlos Jobim after the classical departures of the '70s – a retrospective of past triumphs, including some of the most trod-upon standards ("Ipanema," "Desafinado," "One-Note Samba," etc.), with Claus Ogerman again at hand. But these are thoughtful retoolings, some subtle, some radical, ranging in backing from a lonely piano to elaborate yet sensitive Ogerman orchestral flights that cram more complexity than ever into the spaces (listen to his beguilingly involved take on "Double Rainbow") with only a few overbearing faux pas. Jobim's own vocals sound increasingly casual in temperament as he serves them up in an unpredictable mixture of Portuguese, English and scat. And there is much unfamiliar material here, often dressed up in a brooding classical manner.