Various Artists

Pure Brazil: Feijoada

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The producers invoke feijoada, one of Brazil's signature dishes, to convey the music of this compilation. As with the black beans and white rice that are part of the meal, the artists -- given that Brazil has been an integrated multicultural society for generations -- are a mix of black and white. So ignore any distinctions of color, accept them all as Brazilian, and then listen to the music (whether you want to follow the recipe for feijoada is up to you). Like others in this same series, this is a kind of Brazil 101, with several big names, and at least one familiar track, Tamba Trio's "Mas, Que Nada." Elsewhere you get a couple of cuts from the excellent Jorge Ben, with his percussive guitar providing the underpinning. Toquinho offers the lovely guitar solo "Turbilhao," while Ivan Lins bridges the time between the '60s and '70s with "Me Deixa Em Paz." Given the amount of great music that had come out of Brazil in the preceding five decades, finding excellent songs is like shooting fish in a barrel, and there's nothing to criticize on the quality (the emphasis seems to be slightly on the '70s here). It would have been nice to have had some sleeve notes to put the artists and the sounds into some kind of perspective, and at less than an hour, it's quite parsimonious. But when your stars include Chico Buarque, Maria Bethânia, Gal Costa, and Caetano Veloso, there's certainly no shortage of talent who've always let the music speak for itself. So take it as offered, and enjoy the aural meal.

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