Oct 26 2006

James Stapleton: Brazilian Excursion

Pleasing but With Some Minor Problems


Brazilian ExcursionFrom Dallas, Texas, comes this release of sax and flute player James Stapleton. Sided with Stapleton, we find Robert Aberg on guitar, Daniel Pitzer on bass, Rodrigo Villanueva on drums and Ron Davison on percussion.This tight quintet performs a repertoire heavily focused on traditional Bossa Nova, including iconic songwriters such as Roberto Menescal, Carlos Lyra and João Donato. And what Bossa Nova album would be complete without songs by Tom Jobim and João Gilberto? Alternating between tenor and soprano sax, as well as the flute, James Stapleton performs songs that have inspired him all of his life. It all started when he was only 11 years old and heard “The Girl from Ipanema” back in 1964. The rest in history for Stapleton. He fell in love with that genre, and here in Brazilian Excursion is his tribute to some of those great songs. Though the arrangements are pretty much straightforward, Stapleton and his ensemble find plenty of room for some inspired guitar solos mixed with Stapleton’s own sax and flute endeavors. The group, however, appears at times to show some problems in keeping the tempo and solos together, with the performers playing a little ahead of one another in some songs. As for the repertoire itself, I commend Stapleton for picking songs that are not generally performed in most Bossa Nova recordings, such as “Só Me Faz Bem” and “Sausalito.”

James Stapleton

You can hear track samples of Brazilian Excursion here.



James Stapleton 
Brazilian Excursion 
Green Owl Records GOCD-001 (2005)
Total time: 64’05”


  1. Rio (Roberto Menescal – Ronaldo Bôscoli)
  2. Um Abraço no Bonfá (João Gilberto)
  3. Barquinho (Roberto Menescal – Ronaldo Bôscoli)
  4. Fotografia (Antônio Carlos Jobim)
  5. Só Me Faz Bem (Edú Lobo – Vinícius de Moraes)
  6. Olha Pro Céu (Antônio Carlos Jobim)
  7. Ao Amigo Tom (Marcos Valle – Paulo Sérgio Valle – Osmar Milito)
  8. Vivo Sonhando (Antônio Carlos Jobim)
  9. Sausalito (João Donato)
  10. Nós e o Mar(Roberto Menescal – Ronaldo Bôscoli)
  11. Você(Roberto Menescal – Ronaldo Bôscoli)
  12. O Morro Não Tem Vez (Antônio Carlos Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
  13. Você e Eu (Carlos Lyra)