Nov 14 2014

Who’s the Bossa?: The Chamber Music Project

The Democracy of Bossa Nova


Who's the Bossa?It was on July 10th, 1958 when “Chega de Saudade” had its final recording as title track on João Gilberto’s album. The composition by Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes is marked as the beginning of Bossa Nova. Exact 50 years later, in 2008 on the same day, Josee Koning organized a Bossa Nova tribute concert in an open air theatre near her hometown Haarlem (The Netherlands). On stage were Josee’s musical friends of Nosso Trio (guitarist Nelson Faria, bassist Ney Conceição and drummer Kiko Freitas), pianist Hans Vroomans and cellist Daniël Pezzotti. The concert was a success and pleased both the audience and the musicians. So plans for a follow-up were obvious, but the full agendas made it hard to fulfill that desire. But now it’s here: the very first album by the band Who’s The Bossa?, with a stripped-off line-up of that magical summer evening. From o Nosso Trio, Nelson Faria (Belo Horizonte, 1963) is still present. The master guitarist frequently visits Europe to promote the music of his country. He’s a long time musical friend of Josee Koning‘s. In Brazil he’s a familiar face in the jazz scene and as accompanying musician for countless MPB artists. Pianist Hans Vroomans (1961) is also a long time musical friend of Josee’s. He participated on a couple Josee’s solo albums (Dois Mundos and Tribute to Antônio Carlos Jobim). He worked and studied in New York (1983-1988) to gain more experience. Hans teamed up with some of the big names in jazz and he’s on piano and keyboards for the famous Metropole Orchestra in Holland. Daniël Pezzotti (1962, Zürich, Switzerland) found his way to the band when he was performing in Holland at the Concertgebouw with Italian mezzosoprano vocalist Cecilia Bartoli. Josee Koning invited him to join in.

One might conclude that the answer to Who’s the Bossa? is Josee Koning, but that would be wrong. “No one but the music is the boss(a)” is one of the statements by the band. You can only agree after listening to the beautiful music on this album. Josee Koning needs no further introduction here on MúsicaBrasileira. Her vocals on The Chamber Music Project sound more mature, beautiful and fragile than ever. The instrumentation seems to be a perfect one for her voice. All four musicians deliver a stellar performance. A chamber music set-up often asks for an extraordinary delicate, almost classical approach of the compositions. The band cleverly chose compositions who can handle such a challenge. The repertoire is of a noticeable variation, but they match up great together. There are Brazilian standards by Jobim and Chico Buarque, a beautiful ballad by Lenine, a classic by Milton Nascimento. But there’s also “So In Love” by Cole Porter and “Summer Evening” by Josee’s brother Eric Koning. A classical touch comes with Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas. It’s all present here with a dominant bossa nova feeling.

Josee Koning & Who's the Bossa

The Chamber Music Project is a more than beautiful album by Who’s the Bossa?. You would almost wish the names were the other way around “Who’s the Bossa?” by the band called “The Chamber Music Project.” It certainly is a project that deserves continuation! You can read more about the group at Who’s the Bossa? own website.



Who’s the Bossa?
The Chamber Music Project
Music & Words CUP 8061 (2014)
Time: 56’32”


  1. Distantes Demais (Lenine)
  2. So in Love (Cole Porter)
  3. Bachianas (Heitor Villa-Lobos) / Passarim (Antônio Carlos Jobim)
  4. Cais (Milton Nascimento)
  5. Child of the Sun (Nelson Faria – Gilson Peranzzetta – Josee Koning)
  6. Olha Maria (Antônio Carlos Jobim)
  7. Desafinado (Antônio Carlos Jobim)
  8. Choro para Andréa (Nelson Faria)
  9. Amor (Ivan Lins)
  10. Summer Evening (Eric Koning)
  11. Surfboard (Antônio Carlos Jobim)
  12. Valsinha (Chico Buarque)