Comparable to New York's Penn Station or Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, Leopoldina Station is a major train station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Just as a New Yorker would venture to Penn Station to take a train to the suburbs of Long Island or Northern New Jersey, Leopoldina Station is where a carioca would catch a train to Rio's suburbs. By calling this CD Suite Leopoldina, Brazilian guitarist Guinga is celebrating his Rio background. All of the tunes that Guinga wrote or co-wrote for this album, recorded in late 1998 and early 1999, have a strong Rio orientation. Whether he is playing samba or choro, whether he is embracing instrumental Brazilian jazz or jazz-influenced Brazilian pop, the guitarist is consistently Rio-minded on Suite Leopoldina. And it's important to emphasize the Rio connection because carioca music is distinctive; Guinga might admire the Brazilian pop and jazz sounds coming out of Salvador or São Paulo, but this ultra-melodic CD is distinctly Rio. That is true of the album's instrumentals as well as the tracks that feature vocalists, who include Alceu Valenca, Ed Motta, and the influential Ivan Lins. Guinga's love of jazz is strong; he features harmonica player Toots Thielemans on two instrumentals ("Constance" and "Dos Anjos") and pays tribute to Charles Mingus on "Mingus Samba" (which features vocalist Lenine). Excellent from start to finish, Suite Leopoldina is enthusiastically recommended to anyone who treasures the Rio school of Brazilian jazz and pop.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson