Caetano Veloso

Prenda Minha Ao Vivo

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In this uneven album, Caetano Veloso used cool jazz and Gil Evans' orchestrations as the raw material for his synthesis with contemporary Bahian rhythms -- "Terra," from 1978, is an epic description in which Sketches of Spain influences dialogue with their rhythmic similarity with Bahian grooves. The track is the best of the album, which brings no news other than the interpretation of "Prenda Minha," from the gaúcho folklore, and the ridiculous yet highly rewarding financially track "Sozinho" (which may be the best reason for a Veloso album reaching the cipher of 1,200,000 sold copies for the first time), which propelled the selling of the album and its presence in the top radio charts. "Jorge de Capadócia" (Jorge Ben, 1975) is an emotional and beautiful delivery of the important song, but included in this repertory after Racionais MC's recorded it, it sounds a bit opportunistic -- the visceral phrase "eu estou vestido com as roupas e as armas de Jorge" (I am dressed with the clothes and weapons of Jorge's," a reference to the religious syncretism that unifies Saint Georges and Oxum in a Negro entity of protection, resistance, and survival) sounds incongruous when delivered by this elegant gentleman in an expensive suit. Musically, the excellent cool jazz orchestral arrangements for "Esse Cara," "Prenda Minha," "Terra," "Meditação" (a bossa classic propelled by a Bahian percussion), the also splendid Latin jazz arrangements for "Mel" (recorded by sister Maria Bethânia, here sung in Spanish in a convenient Mercosul version), and the delicate, straight voice/violão renditions for "Bem Devagar," "Drão," "Saudosismo," and the beautiful Chico Buarque song "Carolina" make the album worthwhile -- even if listeners must endure the shameless plug for Veloso's book, the pretentious Verdade Tropical.

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