Various Artists

Brazil: The Essential Album

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With tracks from seminal artists like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Jorge Ben, Elis Regina and Vinicius de Moraes, Brazil: The Essential Album is actually a fairly decent -- and fun -- collection of some of the country's musical traditions. Of course, there are exclusions (Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento, João Bosco, and Beth Carvalho, most notably), and most of the songs included fall into the MPB range, though there is some jazz and bossa nova in there, so it's perhaps not as comprehensive as it claims to be, but still, for what it is, 31 tracks -- including "Agua de Beber," "Embola a Bola," "Milagre," and "Mas Que Nada" -- it's not a bad collection at all.

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