Beautiful bossa nova from 60s Japan – groundbreaking work from the young Sadao Watanabe
! Like one of his obvious influences, Stan Getz, Watanabe
had a great role in bringing the bossa nova out of Brazil – taking a music that had already been introduced to Japan a few years before, and giving it even wider exposure with his wonderfully soulful, jazz-based approach. And although there were earlier Japanese bossa albums, this one stands out as one of the true classics – the Getz/
Gilberto set of 60s Japan, although without the vocals of that Verve date. Sadao
plays both flute and alto sax, and backing is from a small combo that mixes in Brazilian-styled guitar and percussion next to the bass and drums. Watanabe
's reeds have a raspy, off-kilter quality that's almost more human than most Brazilian jazz efforts of the time – and titles include versions of "Song Of The Jet", "Felicidade", "Reza", and "Morning Of The Carnival" – plus some nice originals like "America" and "Cupid's Song".
(1977 pressing, in a non-gatefold cover, with insert.)