Ney Matogrosso

Batuque

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AllMusic Review by

Ney Matogrosso is one of those charismatic, slightly odd performers and has managed to maintain his artistic integrity in spite of his success and popularity. He seems to be able to choose his projects without interference from the record industry, and this time he decided to interpret famous Brazilian songs from the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. In that way, the concept of Batuque is somewhat similar to Bryan Ferry's "As Time Goes By," although the songs here are mostly upbeat. As the title suggests, the percussion plays an important part on this album, and, of course, so does Matogrosso's unique and instantly recognizable voice. The production is modern, but tasteful and carefully orchestrated. Matogrosso is joined on this album by the talented choro band Nó em Pingo d'Água and several other excellent guest musicians, such as the percussionist Marcos Suzano and guitarist João Lyra. The album contains several excellent songs and opens to a sample of Gastão Formenti's original version of "De Papo Pro Ar" from 1931. It is also one of the absolute highlights of the album, together with "Adeus, Batucada" and "Vatapá." "Adeus, Batucada" is perhaps the most famous song performed by the legendary singer Carmen Miranda and has been recorded many times through the years, but possibly never before in such a beautiful way as this time by Matogrosso. Another classic here is "Tico-Tico no Fubá," which pretty much sums up the sprightly spirit of the album. The only really slow tune is "Teu retrato," which is a nice, romantic samba-canção from 1947.

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