Roland Brival

Brizzi Do Brasil

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It's an interesting and unusual idea: Aldo Brizzi, the Italian who's famed as a modern classical composer, teamed with the cream of Brazil's talent on songs written largely by Brizzi himself, which he also arranged. The result, perhaps surprisingly in such a cultural mélange, is wonderful. Throughout, his knowledge and love of Brazilian music is obvious, as is his regard for the talents with whom he's working; he writes to their strengths. In the case of Virginia Rodrigues, for example, "Cat's" brings out the neo-operatic side of her voice, while on "Misterio De Afrodite," Caetano Veloso is his calm assured self against Teresa Salgueiro's feminine side. While it's easy to focus on the guests, Brizzi's work as both composer and arranger deserves special praise. From the startling rhythmic opening of "Meninas De Programa" it's apparent that there's something different going on here, the bass working against a ground rhythm, then the guitar offering a subtle counter to that, creating a remarkable tension beneath the voice. Whether with electric instruments or strings, stark or lush, the arrangements are quite stunning, the rhythms fascinating and complex, as on "Exilio," which seems to draw its inspiration from Bahian axe layered under hip-hop. It's a Brazilian album that even people who don't like Brazilian music will love for its variety and sheer invention.

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