Rosa Passos is one of the few singers currently in Brazil dedicated to a genuine evolution of Brazilian music, devoid of fashionable trend and commercialism. She has established herself firmly in the country's artistic scenery, acknowledged by many such as João Gilberto, Maria Schneider, Clare Fisher, Paquito d'Rivera, Johnny Alf, Nana Caymmi (who recorded two of her compositions), and even the number one enemy of bossa nova, the fundamental music researcher J.R. Tinhorão, even if she hasn't had her deserved media exposure.
Rosa Passos made her recording debut as a leader in 1979, but this 2003 Chesky CD may be her first to be released outside of South America. The Brazilian singer is paired with veteran bassist Ron Carter, who provides a solid melodic foundation for her throughout the date; the delightful Brazilian guitarist Lula Galvao; percussionist Paulo Braga, and, on a few tracks, veteran session musician Billy Drewes on tenor sax or clarinet. While the focus is clearly on the soft, effective vocals of Passos, who is extremely effective in her interpretations of bossa nova classics such as "Insensatez," "Desafinado," "Caminhos Cruzados," and "O Grande Amor," Carter's solos are also subtly swinging.
As a cultural ambassador to the world, Yo-Yo Ma has immersed himself in the native music of many countries and taken away charming souvenirs of his musical explorations that he shares openly and without affectation. The chief characteristic of Ma's approach is his showcasing of other talents, with a modesty and generosity on his part that makes these performances all the more appealing.