Written By: Joe Cardenas
Label: Verve – Rating:
The short-lived Bossa Nova movement started in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the late 50’s. It’s a style of music that evolved from samba and jazz, and is known for it’s cool ‘jazzy’ feel and distinct guitar rhythm. Bebel Gilberto is the daughter of the João Gilberto, the “Father of Bossa Nova,” and continues to travel in his footsteps with her new release ‘All in One.’ Bebel Gilberto really epitomizes the Bossa Nova sound in parts of her album along with several other genres.
The music is undeniably mellow and and that feeling is consistent throughout the whole album. The bass has a very funky feel to it and the piano playing is strong and moving. The only problem is the lack of guitar playing which is somewhat confusing because the guitar played such a big role in the development of the Bossa Nova style. I’m not saying the instrument is necessary for this to considered Bossa Nova but it definitely feels like a more contemporary take on the style. And maybe it’s necessary for Bebel Gilberto to help distinguish herself from the previous generations belonging to such artists such as her father.
The first three songs on the album are exceptionally good, and work so well for what Bebel was aiming for. The Bob Marley cover ‘Sun is Shinning’ is one of the highlights while others such as ‘Chica Chica Boom Chic’ are cute, but just don’t seem to fit with the other songs. A problem with a lot of mellowed-out music is that it’s hard to keep the listener attentive for the entirety of the album. Midway through the album, I found myself spacing out and not really paying attention to the song, it became background music (but good background music). Sometimes music like this can draw a thin line between being original and being elevator music. Bebel Glberto blurs that line a bit but manages to keep her own distinct sound.
The majority of the album is in Portuguese, and although that may drive some people away, I think it gives them a chance to experience something new. You don’t always need to understand what a song is saying to find it beautiful. The album is technically considered bilingual, but if you’re looking to find songs mostly in English, you’ll be disappointed. I know that it’s important for some to know what the vocalist is saying, but I view the vocals as just another instrument and Bebel is an instrument that can move you with her voice.
‘All in One‘ is a fine album and is prime for anyone willing to try new things and listen to music they may have never listened to before. Anyone who is a huge fan of the Bossa Nova style should be warned that it is more contemporary than what you might be use to but still does genre justice. Bebel Gilberto does an excellent job of defining her own mellow style, although the album as a whole is not as consistent as it could be, it’s an enjoyable experience and recommended for anyone to add to their music library.