Maria Rita

Elo

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Maria Rita quickly became a huge critical and popular success in Brazil (being Elis Regina's daughter certainly didn't hurt), but after releasing three albums and two DVDs in less than six years, she probably felt it was time for a break. By 2011, however, she was under mounting pressure from fans and her recording company to record a successor to 2007's Samba Meu. Cue the stopgap album Elo, made of songs Maria Rita had been performing during the first decade of her career, but which have never made it to her albums (the only previously released track is "Coração em Desalinho," featured on a popular TV soap opera.) For this record, Maria Rita re-creates the intimate setting of her appearances at Sao Paolo's Tom Jazz club in 2010, as she is joined only by the trio of pianist Tiago Costa, bassist Sylvinho Mazzuca, and drummer Cuca Teixeira. In this respect, Elo is much closer to the singer's first two records of acoustic jazz, bossa, and vocals, rather than the more expansive Samba Meu. To put it succinctly, this is a Brazilian nightclub chanteuse album in which Maria Rita offers her take on well-known songs by the likes of Djavan, Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, and Rita Lee. The general response in Brazil was more sympathetic than enthusiastic, for the following reasons: first, since some of Brazil's greatest singers have already recorded these songs, Maria Rita was inviting direct comparison with the canonical versions (often a battle that simply cannot be won), and secondly, albums by Brazilian female singers are usually judged almost as concept albums by virtue of their choice of repertoire and general intent. Compared to her previous work, Elo lacks the weight of an artistic statement. Maria Rita remains of course a class act, and this album is superbly played and sung, but it is more pleasing than revelatory. Fans of the artist, however, will find here many an insight into the different sides of Maria Rita's artistic persona, and are also rewarded with the inclusion of three songs that had not been previously recorded by any other artist: "Pra Matar Meu Coração" (Daniel Jobim & Pedro Baby), "Coração a Batucar" (Davi Moraes & Alvinho Lancellotti), and "Perfeitamente" (Fred Martins & Francisco Bosco).

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