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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

CELSO FONSECA

By MICHAEL COWAN
Published May 2, 2006

Natural
Six Degrees

Fans of Brazilian music everywhere should rejoice with the release of Natural, the international debut of one of the brightest lights of “new bossa nova.” Mixing original compositions with a smattering of classics (Tom Jobim’s “Ela é Carioca” and Baden Powell’s “Consoloção”), Fonseca is faithful to bossa roots, updating the classic sound with his own unique stamp. Listeners who don’t speak Portuguese can also delight in the several English tracks. “Slow Motion Bossa Nova” is one worthy of acclaim, due in no small part to the cleverness of lyrics, including this memorable line: “The solution to my dilemma—you’re my Girl from Ipanema.” The band is top-notch, and includes many leading session players working in Brazil today: percussionist Robertinho Silva, on loan from Milton Nascimento; pianist Daniel Jobim, the grandson of the master himself; and bassist Jorge Helder, from Chico Buarque’s band. With his smooth, lilting voice that recalls João Gilberto and Caetano Veloso, and superb melodies, Fonseca deserves a place among the very highest ranks in Brazil.