Grupo Batuque is a collective of Brazilian musicians dedicated to the music form of batucada, the percussion-heavy samba that derives from African rhythms. The group members are Wilson das Neves, Mamao (Azymuth's drummer ), Dom Chacal , Zezinho, Robertinho Silva, Aleuda, Aparacedinha, Leo Leobons (from the Fania All-Stars and Mongo Santamaria's band). Together with a host of Brazilian sessions players they have constructed a unique concept album, one dedicated to the passion of the Carnival parades' samba and batucada rhythm competitions, and to the country's obsession with soccer. Interspersed in between tunes are announcers and crowd sounds from the country's two biggest soccer stadiums. Musically, Samba de Futebol is a mixed bag, one that ranges from the most organic -- both of Dom Um Romao's solo pieces and one by Grupo Bazeado, which are the high points of the album, and the beautiful das Neves' showcase "Na Batida do Agogo," to slicker sampled numbers like "Brazileros e Ingleses," by the album's programmer, Roc Hunter, which don't work at all. His samples should have been restricted to sequencing the soccer chants and announcements because his po-mo cleverness and precision detracts from the steamy organic beauty of the samba singers and percussionist's. This is a small complaint, however, as the band's own pieces, like "Demorou," and "Candomble," more than compensate.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek