His cozy voice travels through a well-trodden repertoire of Brazilian and jazz compositions singing in English and Portuguese with "Adiós mi Sueño" being the sole exception in Spanish. His slightly accented English and Spanish spices his renditions of "My Foolish Heart," "Bridges," "A Night in Tunisia," and even his own "My Very Life," with a decidedly familiar yet exotic aural flavor that adds to the listener's experience of such material.
When scatting, Garcia avails himself just fine, as shown by his return herein to "Take Five," "A Rã," "Você ja foi à Bahia?," "Adiós mi Sueño," "Lapinha" and "A Night in Tunisia." Said vocal technique complements his mid to lower range singing so well that you might not even notice he's not uttering words.
Of course, his interpretations in his sweetly, sensual and melodic native tongue are flawless. He is a very able and inviting vocalist who conveys the emotive impact of songs such as "A Felicidade," "Corcovado," the peppy "Lapinha" and the beautiful "Retrato em Branco e Preto" in quite an effective manner. In other words, this gato can sing.
Garcia is also an elegant, astute and sure-footed guitarist with as much technique as needed within the context at hand. Furthermore, he is used to enlarge his musical footprint and, when needed, he does so without artifices that would endanger the musical beauty herein. In other words, this gato can play.
This is a truly affectionate, calm and beautiful Brazilian release best suited for those who appreciate unadorned and unpretentious beauty for its own sake. It offers the invitation to join him in "Quiet nights of quiet stars. Quiet chords from my guitar..."
Easy going. That's Paulinho Garcia, the consummate Brazilian musician who emigrated here from the land bound state of Minas Gerais so long ago that it's difficult to think of him as anything but a Chicagoan now.
by Scott Adams
Spend any amount of time with Paulinho – say, a second or two (to soak in the smile that always comes with an introduction) and you'll realize that "easy going" is also a perfect way to describe his music. This time, Paulinho has served up an intimate, personal masterpiece: a voice and guitar album called 'Portrait in Black and White'.
'Portrait' represents Garcia's best and most creative work yet, and that's saying a lot: his capacity for crafting beautiful music is amazing, especially when you consider that each of these 15 songs – all standards – are already old friends to most of us:
Carlos Lyra's 'Lobo Bobo (written for Joao Gilberto's 1959 debut album), Dorival Caymmi's 'Você ja foi à Bahia', Dave Brubeck's 'Take Five', Milton Nascimento's 'Bridges' and the title song from Jobim and Chico Buarque's collaboration are so well established in the 'standards' lexicon that the notion of Garcia somehow being able to coax new resonance from these classics is simply amazing.
And understated, in a "why don't you discover it for yourself" kind of way. It also speaks to his elegant guitar play. "I think I'm starting to get a handle on this thing," he told me recently.
In his liner notes Paulinho explains that he "played all the songs just as if I was in my own living room. The result is a product that I enjoyed. A simple and honestly recorded CD."
"Garcia's vocals are never less than seductive, his guitar playing ever atmospheric and evocative. Garcia...........ought to be considered a local treasure." Howard Reich, Jazz critic. "Chicago Tribune"
"This Garcia among Garcia's is a man of his words, and worlds, and no matter where he takes you, and no matter where you ask him to take you, you travel the byways of heart and soul. Brazil, where we have never been, rejoices. Chicago, where he now has never not been, the same. Listen, listener, and hear the freedom of horizons stretching. Lloyd Sachs, Jazz critic. "Chicago Sun-Times"
"Garcia floats on a cloud of soft tones, gently plucked notes, and stimulating Brazilian rhythms. His tune selection is not the standard fare in this post- Jobim period, yet the music is refreshing in its diversity while still maintaining the intimate spirit of Brazil and its music. The lyrics are primarily in Portuguese with occasional English, Italian and Spanish. He sings of love and plays with the emotions to support the lyrics." Frank Rubolino, critic. "Cadence Magazine"
"...He becomes the epitome of the solitary troubadour-a romantic figure hardly visible anymore even in Brazil, where, like everywhere else, popular music has grown busier, louder, and rougher. Garcia's voice, an airy baritone, has less shadow and a bit more energy than Joao Gilberto's, and his languid chords and cleanly plucked lines illuminate the complicated rhythms with the cool clarity of moonlight. Neil Tesser, Jazz critic "The Chicago Readers"
Paulinho Garcia's sensuous voice is heard to wonderful advantage on nineteen songs that cover the spectrum from standards sambas to Peruvian Chabuca Granda's immortal "La flor de la canela". Garcia sings in Portuguese, English, Spanish, and Italian and his spare guitar work draws attention to the lyric beauty of these songs. Every song is rewarding. Marcela Brenton, JazzTimes Magazine