Various Artists

National Geographic: Destination Brazil

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An early installment of Sugo's collaboration with National Geographic, this album focuses on the music of Brazil. Accompanying the album itself is a cache of National Geographic's cultural information, including maps and the famous photography from the magazine. The music here is something of a mix. The main focus would seem to be on the samba, but the album goes beyond that a bit into the range of bossa nova influences, to capoeira-influenced compositions, to the more rock-influenced music of later years. While the biggest names aren't present in large part, a few are, and moreover, the offspring of a few are. Quarteto Jobim-Morelenbaum is a quartet consisting of three members of Antonio Carlos Jobim's old group, as well as his grandson. Bebel Gilberto is the daughter of João Gilberto. Other performers have more informal links to the past. On the other end, Caetano Veloso makes an appearance alongside Belo Velloso as well, keeping the older generations accounted for. It's a relatively light affair as they move from one samba to another, but perhaps that's not a bad thing. Attempting to cover all of the musical styles of Brazil in a single album has proved far more difficult than many labels seem to have expected when making compilations. For a nice piece of background music for an afternoon at home, this is the sort of album that stands out as an ideal selection. Pick it up as such, since you'll have to fork out for anything more comprehensively covering Brazil in a large number of separate discs.

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