Review The Ipanemas – Que Beleza


Here we join Brazilian band The Ipanemas with their sixth studio album Que Beleza (2010). Though their debut album was released in 1962, this album is the fifth since 2001 and the fifth on the Far Out Recordings label.

In this CD, the Afro-bossa band play a series of sambas with a definite vintage, yet surprisingly fresh sound. A group of highly skilled veterans, who have had a resurgence of fame since the 1960s, The Ipanemas could almost be compared to their Cuban counterparts The Buena Vista Social Club” and though musically very different, the sense of conviction and knowledge of their art is very much here. The music does not come across as dated. This is a band showing us what they do best, rather than feeling they have something to prove.

It is this quiet dignity that goes a long way to making such a charming record. It can happily sit in the background, not distracting you from what you are doing (though your hips may start to shake a little) but at the same time there’s more than enough music to keep the most dedicated listener interested and entertained when giving it total attention.

The band is tight and there’s no doubting their musicianship. For this reason, it is a little sad that the record is fairly heavily produced and may come across as rather dry. A slightly more live studio sound may have been more effective in recreating the experience of what is no doubt an amazing live band.

On the other hand, this dry style of production may add to the feel of the album. At first listen the music comes across as upbeat, yet the more you listen, the more you feel. Despite these upbeat tempos you start feeling a mood of melancholy and nostalgia, especially in the vocals and horn parts. Almost fifty years since the release of their first album, you wonder whether this is a band coming to the end of its life and perhaps this album is a way of looking back. The CD is dedicated to the memory of guitarist Neco, whose absence on this album is no doubt felt by the band.

Still, with this release, The Ipanemas have shown they are still very much at the top of their game. It’s a must for any dedicated fan and if, like me, this will be your first experience of the band, I would certainly recommend it as a good place to start.

You can buy Que Beleza from Amazon and iTunes

Artist: The Ipanemas
Album: Que Beleza
Label: Far Out Recordings
Release: 5th July 2010 (UK)

More info:
Far Out Recordings

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