Finally! Issued in 2003, the hotly anticipated debut album by the legendary Carioca Carlos Alberto Valle Pingarilho, who has been on the scene for over 40 years, and has written some of the most fabled and critically regarded sambas in Brazilian pop history: "Samba do Dom Natural," "Samba Tempo," and his collaboration with Marcos Vasconcellos, "Samba da Pergunta." Produced by the venerable Arnaldo DeSouteiro, and starring some of Brazil's brightest and enduring talents, such as Dom Um Romao, Ithamara Koorax, Marcos Valle, Paula Faour, Deodato, Bebeto, Sergio Barroso, and others, this is the reluctant samba master's moment in the sun. Pingarilho's grooves are gentle and unassuming at first, they seem to slip inside the mind of the listener unbidden and unobtrusively. But their grooves are viral; they are infectious and unmistakable, full of subtle washes of seamless playing rooted in intricate, complex harmonies, and devastatingly beautiful melodies that make it as accessible as any fine pop record with the innovation of a jazz composer. Pingarilho is an award-winning architect, as well as a painter, and his visual art background comes into play here in the richly and lushly layered textural palettes he and DeSouteiro create with this rich cast. From the stuttering, tough, street groove of "Samba do Dom Natural," with its rapped verse and pastoral interludes, to the gorgeous samba/bop melodic invention in "Martim Pescador," with a smoking flute solo by José Carlos Bignora, to the elegant balladry of "Das Coisas Que Eu Mais Queria," to the breezy, mellow funk of "Eu Só Posso Assim," with Bebeto's intricate bassline leading the way as it dissolves into a velvety, grooving, mellow samba drenched in Spanish guitars. And it continues into the title track, a dreamy soundscape awash in keyboards, organic percussion, and open, ambient space, graced by guitars and Bignora's soprano saxophone. There are 16 cuts in all, each of them a part of this glorious, unforgettable mosaic that never relies on nostalgia, yet evokes the romance of samba classicism as it marries itself to a thoroughly modern melange of jazz and pop. This record points to a future in both rhythm and song worth exploring. It may have taken him 40 years to issue his first recording under his own name, but Histórias e Sonhos was worth every moment, and is destined to be a modern jazz/pop classic. If there were any justice in the world, the quiet storm stations in the states would be playing this hourly.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek