Bebel Gilberto has released her fifth album in 14 years. The Brazilian singer, daughter of Bossa Nova great Joao Gilberto and singer Miúcha, has created another one of her signature Bossa Electric Lounge albums, but doesn’t come near the immensely popular and sophisticated “Tanto Tempo”, her first solo album in 2000 which was one of the most successful Brazilian albums in the US since the 60s.
Interestingly, the album works best for me in the songs where she has prominent outside help, like in the duo track “Novas Ideias”, which features singer and guitarist Seu Jorge, who also collaborated with her and Gabriel Moura on the writing of the song. Elsewhere, she is using pianist and keyboardist Didi Gutman, with whom she has worked before as a producer (he also produced The Brazilian Girls).
Gilberto has never been a serious or genuine singer. Instead, she knows how to create a perfect sound or mood (also in live concerts where I have witnessed her several times using playback). This becomes apparent in her version of the Neil Young classic “Harvest Moon”, where she’s consistently off the mark.
But the album in total has a nice feel to it, thanks for the most part to producer Mario Caldato Jr., with whom Gilberto has worked before and who also produced acts like Björk and Jack Johnson. And also, she includes some nice Brazilian cover versions, like a track by Luiz Bonfá (“Saudade Vem Correndo”) and comes up with an enjoyable “Tout Est Bleu”, a cover version of this highly popular mid-90s song by French duo Pascale Hospital and Andy Shafte known as Ame Strong (Hospital died in 2005 at the age of 46).
Gilberto is presenting material from the decent “Tudo” at New York’s Blue Note on October 27th and 28th.