Arte de Cantar

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Commemorating 30 years of their career, MPB-4, the best male vocal quartet of Brazil, recorded this CD live (accompanied by an instrumental band) during the show Arte de Cantar. The show was named after a verse of the poem Sépia E Flash, written as a tribute to them by Aldir Blanc, one of the best contemporary lyricists of Brazil. The poem had music by one of Aldir's most frequent partners of late, the excellent Guinga. The music has Blanc's trademark, complex melodies with puzzling resolutions, and was included here. The album has new arrangements for classics of their career, songs by Chico Buarque ("Rods Viva," "Cálice," "Fantasia"), Tom Jobim ("Ana Luíza," "Sabiá," "Retrato Em Branco E Preto," "A Felicidade," "Samba Do Avião"), Sidney Miller ("Pois É Pra Que"), Edu Lobo, Vinícius de Moraes, Ivan Lins, Vitor Martins, and others. The surprise (or shock?) here is the inclusion of disco hits of the '70's the Brazilian "Dancin' Days" (popularized by As Frenéticas) and "Staying Alive" (Bee Gees), along with a Guilherme Arantes tune of the same category, "Labirinto." Of course, these songs don't cater to the quartet's usual audience; they don't fit in this repertoire, sounding rococo. But if the group attained the noted achievement of a 30-year career, it is in part because of their open-mindedness and intelligence in approaching marketing decisions. Another unusual decision was the inclusion of a contemporary northeastern pop medley with "Por Toda Lã" (Alceu Valença) and "Olhar de Cobra" (Moraes Moreira/Antônio Risério), which works quite well. The album will not disappoint their regular fans, who would find their usual competence in elaborated vocals with the live performance adding a lot more of stamina in their renditions.

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