Francisco Mário composed, arranged, and produced the two albums that comprise this posthumous CD release. This is stunningly beautiful and very gently swinging music, featuring Mário leading on guitar and viola. It has Brazilian folkloric roots, but with generous servings of chorinho, tango, waltzes and other ingredients added to the mix. They never jar in the capable hands of Mário and his colleagues, who seamlessly integrate the elements into a flowing sound. Several of the first 12 tunes, originally released in Brazil as "Retratos," are notable for the use of clarinet as a counterpoint to the guitar leads; the playing is sensitive and lyrical. The balance of the disc was released as Conversa de Cordas, Couros, Palhetas e Matais ("Conversation of Strings, Skins, Reeds and Brass"). The six musicians are here increased to a dozen, but the overall unified, intuitive ensemble feel is remarkably similar, a testament to the leader's coherent vision and talent.
AllMusic Review by Janet Rosen