Look to the Rainbow

background music CDs > Look to the Rainbow

Edition: Audio CD
Price: $14.98

Background Rainbow

 Bossa Nova
 Brazilian Jazz
 Jazz Music
 Jazz Vocals
 Astrud Gilberto

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1. Berimbau
2. Once Upon A Summertime
3. Felicidade
4. I Will Wait For You
5. Frevo
6. Maria Quiet (Maria Moite)
7. Look At The Rainbow
8. Bim Bom
9. Lugar Bonita (Pretty Place)
10. El Preciso Aprender A Ser So (Learn To Live Alone)
11. She's A Carioca
12. A Certain Smile
13. A Certain Sadness
14. Nega Do Cabelo Duro
15. So Nice (Summer Samba)
16. Voce Ja Foi A Bahia
17. Portuguese Washerwoman

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Customer reviews:

Not her best album, but still highly enjoyable

Astrud's voice is best kept to an intimate setting, and for a few songs here that is realized, but too much of "Rainbow" is more on the brassy side, which doesn't suit Astrud. Still, "I Will Wait For You" gets it's best reading here, and the title track is very spritely and melodic. Not her best, but if you enjoy Gilberto's deep, slightly off-center vocals and her sweet coo, you'll get a sultry groove on nevertheless. 'B'

Astrud and big band: strange bedfellows

It can hardly be argued that producer Creed Taylor specialized in making interesting albums (for better or worse) by recording his star performers in new and different settings. Astrud Gilberto had recorded some songs with bossa/jazz combos and a number of songs with string orchestras, but LOOK TO THE RAINBOW placed her in the setting of a big band for the first time.

In my opinion, this is one case where Creed's idea for a new setting didn't really work out to the best advantage. First of all, the soft and mellow sound of Astrud's voice doesn't sound very "at home" amongst the blaring trumpets and trombones; to me, the orchestral settings of Claus Ogerman were ideal because they were as gentle and delicate as the voice they supported. The average big band lacks the sensitivity necessary to back someone like Astrud. Secondly, I just don't understand the public's love affair with Gil Evans. He's one of the most highly-regarded arrangers in jazz history, but I can't get used to his style. Throughout this record, his almost continual use of a muted trumpet section is piercing and unpleasant, his woodwind voicings are shrill and discordant, and the overall sound strikes me as messy and unpolished. There are points in "Once Upon A Summertime" and "I Will Wait For You" where the arrangements sound like they're on the verge of falling apart. Maybe this style is appropriate for Miles Davis projects, but not for bossa nova and certainly not for Astrud Gilberto.

Matters are brightened somewhat by two charts from the pen of Al Cohn: Carlos Lyra's "Lugar Bonita" and Marcos Valle's "Learn To Live Alone." For all Evans' acclaim, I find Cohn's writing much more coherent and pleasing to the ear.

Another strong point of the album is its selection of songs. Most of them are Brazilian in origin -- in fact, the album opens with a Portuguese reading of Baden Powell's classic "Berimbau" (in a performance bogged down somewhat by Evans' leaden, lumbering brass writing -- *sigh*). The remainder of the album is devoted to three songs by Jobim, two by Carlos Lyra, one each by Marcos Valle and Joao Gilberto, along with three from America. My personal favorites on the album are Joao's "Bim Bom," Lyra's "Lugar Bonita" and Valle's "Learn To Live Alone." The weakest song is quite possibly the title track; although its arrangement is pleasingly low-key, the melody and harmony are very much in the folk bag, and don't have much in the way of saudade.

Astrud's voice sounds as lovely as ever, despite the generally brash backings. She engages in some interesting scatting on "Berimbau" (in which she phonetically imitates the sound of the berimbau) and "She's A Carioca," but her greatest interpretive powers really lie in the uniqueness of her voice. That factor, at least, is a constant on this recording.

Although it falls short of the absolute heavenliness of Astrud's first two Verve albums, LOOK TO THE RAINBOW is an enjoyable enough listen... and it may serve as a good introduction to Astrud Gilberto for jazz fans who dig Gil Evans. For those among us who prefer their bossa nova full of beauty and bittersweet sadness rather than generic discordance in the trumpet section, THE SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE is a lot more essential.

Boring to the Max

What a disappointment - the selections are hum drum, the back-up renditions uninspiring and Astrid's delivery lackluster. I certainly would not recommend anyone purchase this CD, unless, of course, one is so devoted to Astrid you just had to have it to add to a collection.

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