"Better than silence," Caetano Veloso famously opined. "There's only João." The man who defined bossa nova alongside his wife, Astrud, Tom Jobim, and Stan Getz, João Gilberto is a guitarist and vocalist with a style so intimate that it fairly defies the threshhold of audibilty. But listen up, because João's first studio record in years will make you feel as though you are seated at the maestro's feet. Produced by longtime fan Veloso, JOÃO VOZ E VIOLÃO is classic João: guitar, voice, and 30 years of bossa nova musings. The musician may have not changed, but his song selections have. Aside from classics "Chega de Saudade" and "Desafinado," Gilberto performs MPB favorites such as Veloso's "Coração Vagabundo" and "Desde que o Samba e Samba" and Gilberto Gil's "Eu Vim da Bahia." Gilberto's artistry at this point is so total that his vocal murmurs and unmatched right-hand rhythms make each song blend into one another like the sun sinking into the ocean. Despite its starkness, JOÃO VOZ E VIOLÃO sounds much like many of Gilberto's records; the refinement of music like this is merely one of degree. Newcomers will be bowled over by the naked rhythm and sheer musicality of JOÃO VOZ E VIOLÃO; old-school Gilberto fans may find it one more perfect Gilberto record to confuse with the others. But happily so.