North America has always had a taste for the music of South America. The multiplicity of sinuous rhythms — some of them exciting, some of them soft, and all of them sophisticated — have been welcomed, learned, and in the end adopted as their own by North Americans, whether listeners or musical professionals.

The most recent import has been bossa nova, a gentle yet somehow always swinging form of song that has already added a number of important standards to the repertoire of popular music in the United States.

One of the most important characteristics of the bossa nova movement, as represented by the songs of both Luis Bonfa and Antonio Carlos Jobim (both of whom are represented in this album), is the quality of relaxation. And who is more suited to this music ( and vice versa ) than Perry Como?

Como's relaxation, as several critics have pointed out, is more than simply a projection of his personality. It is the result of supreme command, of utter assurance and control in his medium. Turned toward the bossa nova movement, it results in an album of great tenderness, a perfect matching of man to music.

Five of the songs in this album are by Jobim — How Insensitive, Meditation, Dindi, Once I Loved and Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars. One is by Bonfa, Manhã de Carnaval; another by Ary Barroso, Baia; and Dorival Caymmi, a sort of elder statesman of Brazilian popular music, wrote And Roses and Roses.

Como ranges outside of Brazil for some of the songs in this collection. There's an original by arranger-conductor Nick Perito and Ray Charles, Stay with Me. The Shadow of Your Smile is by Johnny Mandel, a former jazz musician turned movie composer; Yesterday is by the British team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney; and Coo Coo Roo Coo Coo Paloma was originally a Spanish language song.

But all of them are fitted to the subtle warmth of the great Perry Como voice. This is rewarding listening.

Produced by Andy Wiswell
Arranged and Conducted by Nick Perito
Choral Director: Ray Charles and the Ray Charles Singers.
Recorded in RCA Victor's Studio A, New York City
Recording Engineer: Bob Simpson


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Lightly Latin ~ RCA Victor 1966

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Monday, April 18, 2022

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