Jovino Santos Neto

Roda Carioca

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The barriers between classical music, jazz, and indigenous Brazilian music have been obscured by Rio de Janeiro-born and Seattle-based pianist, flutist, and composer Jovino Santos Neto. A member of Hermeto Pascoal's legendary band from 1977 to 1992, Santos Neto has continued to expand on his world music-influenced vocabulary. He later built on his knowledge of Brazilian music during a stint with Airto Moreira and Flora Purim's group, Fourth World, from 1993 until 1997. He also worked with such artists as Mike Marshall, Richard Boukas, Celso Machado, and Chitravina N. Ravikiran. For this lively, multifaceted, and percussive from the get-go collection -- check out the frenetic piano-drum interaction on the opening track, "Estrela do Mar" -- Jovino returned to his hometown, where he recruited some of the country's most impressive performers to contribute. It's fitting that the liner notes feature a glossary of Portuguese cultural and musical terms, because the exciting set plays like a vibrant musical encyclopedia of the musical spirit of his homeland. The joy keeps growing through "Coco na Roda" -- whose feisty drumbeat and whimsical mix of instruments create a Brazilian version of Mardi Gras music -- and tracks like the lively samba "Gente Boa." But there are some subtle moments as well, including the gentle vocal ballad "Nana" and the gentler samba "Homeopatia." He pays homage to Pascoal with a seductive, "out there" rendition of "Juvenal no Grumar," which blends off meter rhythms with heavy doses of swinging jazz and odd vocal effects. Overall, this is a fascinating collection aimed squarely at lovers of all things Brazilian.

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