Along with Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Sergio Mendes, guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves was one of the co-founders of the bossa nova movement that took the US by storm after the release of “Getz/Gilberto” in 1965. Though Castro-Neves was much younger than the genre’s creators, he was able to hold his own during its heyday through his great talent and was able to make a name for himself both as a bandleader, sideman (with Mendes’ band) and a songwriter.
On this new CD captured live at Tokyo’s Blue Note, he teams up with veteran percussionist Airto Moreira (Return to Forever, Flora + Airto), vocalist Leila Pinheiro and a team of great Brazilian players (Marco Bosco—percussion; Paulo Calasans—piano; Marcelo Mariano—bass) to revisit some of these familiar classics. The disc opens with Jobim’s “Ela E Carioca” (“She’s A Carioca”), a classic samba that bears a short vignette of “The Girl From Ipanema” during Castro-Neves’ accomplished solo. Pinheiro joins him on Edu Lobo’s “Ponteiro” (Clock Hand), a more obscure tune that blends samba and baião, a syncopated beat from northeastern Brazil. Moreira is featured on his “Caninana,” a mostly improvised piece that includes intricate vocals and a plethora of percussive instruments.
Other highlights include a straightforward rendition of “Waters of March” with Castro-Neves on vocals and the gorgeous “Rio Dawning,” one of the bandleader’s few compositions included on the disc. That’s the only downside of this CD—that he didn’t compose more songs throughout his long career. (Ernest Barteldes)
Oscar Castro-Neves with Leila Pinheiro and Airto Moreira
“Live at The Blue Note Tokyo”