Gilberto Gil's world tour in 1997 was a startling revelation for North American audiences who had not heard from him live in several years, if at all. Quanta Live was recorded in Rio not long before his appearance at the Hollywood Bowl -- and unlike the latter concert, which was strongly rooted in the samba, this CD more fully reflects Gil's role as a pioneer of Brazil's cosmopolitan "tropicalismo" music movement. The CD reveals Gil as a truly captivating performer, still in possession of a quicksilver voice with a beautiful falsetto, a staccato guitar style that makes his electric model sound like an acoustic, and strikingly original, even quirky tunes (including one, though sung in Portuguese, which is obviously about the Internet!). His tricky syncopated vocals and scatting must have been an inspiration for Al Jarreau, and his supple feeling for Brazilian rhythms, energy and quickness can be felt on this recording even without the visual element. Yet Gil and his band could also suddenly break into completely comfortable renditions of two Bob Marley songs ("Is This Love," "Stir It Up") in full reggae regalia. He doesn't need to do this, but it makes sense because Marley fits right into Gil's crusading, humanistic world view. In all, an outstanding addition to your world music shelf.
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AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell