Now this is an interesting project; Brazilian standards and newly-composed music interpreted or transfigured by the old masters, rock stars and cutting-edge '90s musicians - with all the proceeds going to fight the spread of AIDS. What is so remarkable about this album is how wholeheartedly the younger musicians relate to the cruising Brazilian ethos, often without taking the edge off their own idioms. That results in some delightful surprise teamings; rock's George Michael's astoundingly authentic leap into the spirit of "Desafinado" in tandem with Astrud Gilberto, PM Dawn's fusion with Airto and Floria Purim on "Non-Fiction Burning, "and retro-rock band Stereolab's quirky Moog-laced meeting with the fanciful flute of Herbie Mann on "One Note Samba/Surfboard." Another high point - singers Cesaria Evora and Caetano Veloso teaming up with Yellow Magic Orchestra keyboardist Ryuichi Sakamoto for a pounding, high-tech yet emotional "E Preciso Perdoar." One of the most beautiful compositions is also one of the newest; multi-instrumentalist Money Mark's echt-Brazilian "Use Your Head" that leads off the album. There are very few misfires; one is a lame "Aguas de Marco" where the Talking Heads' David Byrne again proves that he shouldn't be let anywhere near Latin music. A few of the tracks are donations made before the project's conception (Milton Nascimento's lovely vocalise "Dancing...") and there is a touching duet between Antonio Carlos Jobim and Sting on "How Insensitive." As a final production touch, some of the tracks are separated by brief collages of sound that serve as grungy interludes. Anyone with open ears, an adventurous spirit, and a bent for Brazilian music should sample this album.
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell