Various Nicola Conte Presents Viagem 2

Italy's finest bossa connoisseur (and you'd best believe there's more than a few) dropped a little gem of a collection about a year-and-a-half ago, and he's back to take us on a second trip. The first comp succeeded so well because its perfect pace of two-minute-and-under miracles skipped along so effortlessly. Swinging horns, cracking rim shots and post-bop piano balanced with torch singer grandiosity more than created a mood; it filled in major gaps in the availability of music from the extremely fertile bossa nova era. This second comp hits many of the same notes but the pace and tempo are throttled back a bit. It's the exact same method, and no doubt if both comps were shuffled on an iPod things would sound just fine, but there's more melancholia and not enough questing instrumental moments for my tastes. Still, I'm game for anything the Brazilian McCoy Tyner (aka Tenorio Jr.) lays his quicksilver fingers on, and he gets another pair of highlights here. We should all be grateful for Conte's exploration into some of the best big-studio recordings done anywhere in any era. (Far Out)