Carlinhos Brown

Mil Verões: Greatest Hits

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Carlinhos Brown is known as "the Brazilian Prince" in his homeland, and his Bob Marley-like stature there (which may have a lot to do with his unique 120-member band, Timbalada, a social and humanitarian force as much as a musical one) at times obscures his crafty pop smarts. An impressive percussionist, Brown is also an astute songwriter, often drawing on Brazilian, particularly Bahian, folklore in his songs, and an absolute master in the studio, coloring his compositions with huge sonic washes, always layered over powerful, thundering drum tracks. Mil Verões is a sampler of sorts, drawing on his three EMI albums, and it all holds together seamlessly in its own right. High points include the opener, "A Namorada," probably Brown's best-known song (it even made it on to the Speed 2 soundtrack), the jazzy samba "Covered Saints," the driving stomp of "Omelete Man," and his cello- and horn-driven masterpiece, "Soul By Soul." Also included is a previously unreleased track, the deliriously funky "Pop Raladrao." Brown's music may have the rhythms of Salvador de Bahia at its root, but his cavernous drum and percussion tracks translate those rhythms into one clear international statement: dancefloor. Mil Verões is the perfect introduction to one of the most infectious musicians on earth.

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