Finally a great wrong has been righted: In the northern hemisphere, bossa nova implies "The Girl From Ipanema," Stan Getz, Sergio Mendes, Astrud Gilberto, Jobim meets Sinatra, and an eternal sunshine of the spotless Kennedy years, sitting on Danish furniture and feeling like the first two seasons of Mad Men.
For Brazilians, however, bossa nova means the cryptic genius Joao Gilberto, the alcoholic poet/diplomat Vinícius de Moraes, modernism-meets-Marxism architecture and, crucially, the black, white and red sleeves of the perfect Elenco label (and the sounds gathered within).
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One of the best contemporary labels, London's SoulJazz Records, has just released Bossa Nova Beat!: Bossa Nova and the Story of Elenco Records, a compilation of tracks from 1963 to 1966 that showcase the labor of love of label owner Aloysio de Oliveira (who started off with Carmen Miranda and Disney before going all mod) and the artwork of designer César G. Villela. The music: Edu Lobo, Nara Leão, Baden Powell, Menescal and the lushest vocal groups of the '60s. Your hi-fi needs this.