Review: Bebel Gilberto | All In One

Verve (2009)
By JEFF TAMARKIN  |  September 24, 2009
3.5 3.5 Stars

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There couldn’t be a more apropos title than the one Bebel Gilberto has given her fourth album. All in One is just that: the place where the singer, born in NYC to Brazilian royalty (dad is iconic guitarist João Gilberto, mom is singer Miúcha), puts all her eggs in one basket.

Gilberto could easily anoint herself keeper of the bossa nova flame and be done with it; when she keeps it simple and classic, as on the opening “Canção de Amor” and “Nossa Senhora” (both produced by Carlinhos Brown), no one swings so cool and sways so gently. But she’s never been a pure traditionalist: her comfort zone encompasses electronic spicing (Brazilian Girls’ Didi Gutman and Dust Brothers’ John King are among the other producers) as well as acoustic guitars, and All in One ups that ante.

Stevie Wonder’s “The Real Thing,” produced by Mark Ronson and Tom Brenneck and one of several tunes sung in English (the others are in Portuguese), rocks out, and her take on the old Carmen Miranda staple “Chica Chica Boom Chic” borders on the surreal, like some lost Os Mutantes track. Despite its disparate influences and multi-handed production approach, All in One never feels less than cohesive. Coated throughout in a romantic patina (credit Gilberto’s recent marriage), the record oozes warmth not only from the soft and sensual tracks (“Secret (Segredo),” “Far from the Sun”) but from the groovers (“The Real Thing”), too.

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