Brazil All-Stars

Rio Strut

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When a lover of Brazilian music hears the name Brazil All-Stars, it is easy for his/her imagination to run wild. One starts to fantasize about a Brazilian dream project in which Ivan Lins, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Astrud and João Gilberto, Djavan, Dori Caymmi, Gilberto Gil, Raul De Souza, Gal Costa, and Daniela Mercury are in the room at the same time. Well, none of those people are present on Rio Strut, but the collective known as the Brazil All-Stars does boast an impressive list of participants -- including keyboardist Eumir Deodato, singer Ithamara Koorax, producer/percussionist Arnaldo DeSouteiro, drummer Dom Um Romão, trumpeter Claudio Roditi, guitarist Dino Rangel, and pianist João Donato. Seeing those names, one greets this CD with high expectations -- and Rio Strut is a fine collection of Brazilian jazz and Brazilian pop (or, as they say in Portuguese, MPB -- Musica Popular Brasileira). As its title indicates, this DeSouteiro-produced CD tends to favor a Rio de Janeiro-ish approach (as opposed to a São Paolo or Salvador, Bahia type of sound). Some of the selections were, in fact, recorded in Rio, although some were recorded in Piermont, NY. And because a variety of people are involved, diversity prevails. Roditi offers an exuberant blend of hard bop and samba on "Xaxado Quente," whereas a softer, more laid-back style of Brazilian pop-jazz is heard on Donato's "A Rã," Deodato's "Rio Strut," and Rangel's "Antigua" (which isn't unlike something Azymuth would have done in the '80s). Koorax, meanwhile, has a memorable and funky spot on Jorge Ben's "Mas Que Nada," which was recorded live in London and finds the singer joining forces with Dom Um Romão. From vocals to instrumentals, Rio Strut is yet another project that DeSouteiro can be proud of.

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