A Tábua de Esmeralda (together with Jorge Ben's 1976 album África Brasil) could be said to represent the creative culmination of his astonishing '70s. The music that Ben recorded during this period had tremendous influence on Brazilian musicians at that time and to a great extent helped to ignite the creative explosion that took place in the Brazilian samba rock and samba soul scenes during the '70s. The sound on this particular album is very simple, with the songs being driven by Ben's characteristic acoustic guitar playing together with a bass guitar and percussion. Floating in the background on several tracks are also some nice string arrangements and a double bass. The melodies are magnificently crafted, managing to be catchy and free-flowing without ever feeling banal or predictable. One of many great songs on this album is the upbeat opening track, "Os Alquimistas Estão Chegando," with its funny lyrics about alchemists. Other especially fine moments are the space-themed "Errare Humanum Est," "Zumbi," with its Africa-inspired lyrics, "Cinco Minutos," and "Magnolia." A Tábua de Esmeralda belongs in the record collection of any fan of Ben's music and is also a great starting point for someone who wants an introduction to his work.
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AllMusic Review by Philip Jandovský