Bud Shank & Laurindo Almeida: Little Girl Blue
Little Girl Blue
Brazilliance, Vol. 2 (World Pacific 1419)
Composed by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.
Recorded: Hollywood, March 1958
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
Almost a decade before "Girl from Ipanema" hit the charts, Bud Shank and Laurindo Almeida were exploring ways of combining Brazilian music with the ethos of cool jazz. Contrary to what you might have heard elsewhere, they didn't invent bossa nova—Almeida's guitar is much more on top of the beat than what João Gilberto would deliver in a famous session held a few weeks after this Hollywood date. This Shank-Almeida collaboration captures a more overtly classical sensibility, and establishes its mood with a stately elegance that is rare in jazz of any era. If you want to hear Shank in a loose, blowing vein, this is not the place to start. But the other side of Bud Shank—inquisitive, experimental, and (yes) cool—comes to the fore on this track. The entire Shank-Almeida oeuvre is too often treated as a footnote to the bossa nova story, but deserves to be better known on its own merits.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia