If he were playing a piano, that would bring images of Nat King Cole. The fact that Mr. Garcia plays guitar is reminiscent of the fact that the waters of Brasil seem to produce guitarists of incredible virtuosity and ingenuity as if they come from a secret well-spring at every turn—whether in the sertão or in cities in all corners of that great country. The other aspect of Brasilian nature is sensuousness. Singing of love thus comes naturally, but there is also the element of seduction that enters into the equation and Mr. Garcia is no exception. His sensuousness is legion and when in "I Wonder Whose Kissing Her Now" he sings of lips touching not only do visuals of the kiss beguile the listener, but it might be possible to feel the actual heat of the embrace and the subsequent meltdown.
The repertoire—songs about love and loss and longing—are a pre-eminent fit for a Brasilian, who feels saudades and alegria in short order. Paulinho Garcia is also eminently suited to sing about these emotions. Remarkably a recording that goes on for some fifteen songs does not feel boring for even a moment. This is probably because Mr. Garcia brings something new to each song. And his voice is so magnetic and the lyrics of the songs are so perfectly enunciated in his charmingly accented English that the listener becomes captivated by the song that comes alive with something akin to cinema-magic. Songs roll along like old black and white reels in a lonely cinema, which starts to fill up as rumour of the voice spreads like wildfire.
While the repertoire is near perfect from song to song, some songs simply stand out more than others. "When I Fall In Love" is sung and played in one of its more memorable versions. The elemental sadness and joy are beautifully expressed and there is something of a tentative, almost shy feeling on the part of the vocalist that makes this chart absolutely alluring. The melancholia of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" is so perfectly sad that it almost has the emotions of a Spanish saeta. Toots Thielemans' classic chart "Bluesette," almost de rigueur on virtually every good Brasilian recording is re-imagined for just one sensuous voice and guitar. Lionel Bart's "Where is Love" from the film Oliver begins with extreme pathos but then almost leaps into a joyful voyage of discovery.
Little was known about Paulinho Garcia before this recording, but on balance and on the evidence of this record from out of the blue it is a wonder where he was woodshedding. Now that the truth is out, much more will be happily expected of the singer and guitarist and it is almost assured that it will be something to look forward to.
Track List: Eu sei que vou te amor; When I fall in love; Like someone in love; Beautiful love; With every breath I take; Boulevard of broken dreams; Historia de un amor; I wonder who's kissing her now; Bluesette; That old feeling; Do you remember me?; But beautiful; Where is love?; Casinha Pequenina.
Raul da Gama, World Music Report