With All in One, Bebel Gilberto made her home at Verve, which is not just an auspicious label for music but also the home of some of the best Brazilian records of all time -- by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto (who is no relation, although she was married to Bebel's father before Bebel's birth), Stan Getz, and, of course, her father, João Gilberto. It's obvious Gilberto is well aware of this: the cover is reminiscent of an Astrud Gilberto album and she sings a version of "Bim Bom," which was written by her father and is known popularly for Astrud's version (what's more, it features the piano work of Brazilian royalty Dan Jobim). Still, it's clear Bebel Gilberto knows where to draw the line, and All in One is defined more by her songs and her collaborators than the weight of Brazilian musical history she must carry.
When Os Mutantes released their wonderful English language version of Caetano Veloso’s “Baby” in 1971, they provided a small but perfectly formed map of what made Anglo-Brazilian music so appealing, a cosmopolitan and knowing mix of different linguistic and musical cultures that did not let its potential cheesiness eclipse its utter cool. “You know, it’s time now to learn Portuguese / It’s time to learn what I know”, they sang, a lesson which had already been taught by other artists (Veloso himself, Astrud and João Gilberto, and all the jazz artists who had been exploring the Brazilian sound for over a decade by then) but which itself was part of a much longer tradition of cultural cannibalism. Bebel Gilberto is an inheritor of this tradition, connected both by blood (she is João Gilberto’s daughter and Chico Buarque’s niece) and by sensibility to the bossa nova, samba, and Tropicalismo artists who forged the Brazilian sound.
Isolated moments of magic fail to ignite the rest of this disappointing album. Colin Irwin 2010 You might imagine that signing to Verve, a label synonymous with jazz legends, would have encouraged Bebel Gilberto to explore the more extreme end of her illustrious Brazilian heritage. Not so. Here the daughter of bossa nova creator João Gilberto has made an album that either drowns in its own sensuousness and sentimentality – “Bebel Gilberto is in love,” fanfares the press release – or stutters awkwardly in a self-conscious striving for broader populism.