After Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd had a big hit in 1962 with "Desafinado" off their Jazz Samba LP, the market literally flooded with "Bossa Nova" releases, many of which had little to do with the idiom pioneered by Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto in Brazil, most notoriously Edie Gorme's "Blame It On The Bossa Nova" and Elvis' "Bossa Nova Baby." (both of which I love).
As a result, many otherwise fine releases fell through the cracks at the time. Many of these have been rediscovered over the years, but here is one that has not. Considering how thoroughly the Verve vaults have been plundered over the years, it is a little surprising that Bob Brookmeyer's Trombone Jazz Samba has never been reissued on CD or LP (not even in Japan!).
Yes, this is a "me too" effort--Brookmeyer recorded this just a few months after Getz and Byrd recorded Jazz Samba--but it is a very good "me too" effort. Guitarist Jim Hall slides into the Brazilian style perhaps even more effortlessly than Byrd, Gary McFarland provides some excellent vibraphone, and a three Latin percussionists (including Willie Bobo) keep things brisk. Brookmeyer's own playing is highly melodic and engaging, if not as brilliant as Getz's.
There is probably not much chance of UMG reissuing this album in the U.S., but we can always hope that Verve Japan will release it in one of their beautiful LP-style slipcase reissues, as they did with Brookmeyer and Lalo Schifrin's Samba Para Dos. While they tend to be pricey, I always enjoy seeing the way Japanese record companies are able to exactly and authentically duplicate vintage LP packaging at 1/4 the original size. It is as if someone took a shrink ray to a mint condition LP and put a CD inside (not to mention the fact the the Japanese CDs almost inevitably sound better than their American counterparts).