Milton Nascimento

As much of a period piece as "The Girl from Ipanema" might be, it's still a little hard to imagine that the bossa nova genre has reached its half-century mark. Fresh, perky and always sexy by association with Brazil, it has aged well.

The golden anniversary is the occasion for this tasty if not superlative disc, a collaboration between superstar Brazilian vocalist Milton Nascimento and a band that includes the son and grandson of Antonio Carlos Jobim, the founder of bossa nova.

Nascimento has been covering Jobim's work for decades, and the bulk of the disc-eight of the 14 songs-are from the maestro, along with two originals.

The band puts a jazzy spin on the material, eschewing a more laidback, tropical sound for crisp, clean rhythms. But it's really all about supporting Nascimento's mellifluous tones. For the most part, this strategy works very well, and he shines against the background. There are times, however, when the crisp production sounds chilly and more lushness and warmth might be appreciated; elsewhere, things risk veering off into the New Age.

The bigger problem is that the disc just doesn't generate a whole lot of excitement. Nascimento and Co. are content to coast along at a pleasant buzz, such as on the classic "Chega de Saudade," which is given an adept but low-key reading, never capturing much of the heartbreak in the lyrics.

Perhaps the arrangements will come alive tonight, when Nascimento will perform with the Jobim Trio in Page Auditorium. It's the band's only stop in this part of the country, and-the album's flaws aside-is not to be missed.

The show is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, $22-38 for others.


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