It only makes sense that the city’s best Brazilian jazz guitarist, Spotted Cat mainstay Geovane Santos, would want to do an album of Antonio Carlos Jobim standards, the ones that introduced bossa-nova to North America in an earlier, hipper time. And overall, Geovane and his quartet do a solid job at tackling the work of the master: Santos makes his own case with an impressive solo in the middle of “So Danco Samba,” while bassist Nick Benoit duets with him on a funky, twisted “O Morro.”
However, the same can’t be said for Geovane’s voice, which feels too deep, too colorless for the breezy but elegant source material; it almost seems to weigh these standards down, an observation borne out by the presence of singer Gio Blackman on four tracks, including “Once I Loved,” and an excellent “How Insensitive.” (Evan Oberla’s trombone also feels a little tentative.) Sometimes the new ideas work, like hearing “Triste” transformed into an intriguing bop shuffle, but the closing reggae version of “Girl from Ipanema” is a serious misstep: the changes are just too complicated for that beat. If you’re just thirsty for new versions of “Agua de Beber” and “Wave,” on the other hand, this will tide you over.