Cyro Baptista

Vira Loucos: Cyro Baptista Plays the Music of Villa Lobos

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Since the early '80s, Cyro Baptista has been the percussionist of choice for many a downtown New York ensemble, perhaps achieving greatest prominence in John Zorn's Bar Kokhba chamber group. Here, Baptista performs music written or inspired by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa Lobos and the result is a fine compendium, bristling with Brazilian rhythms, earthy folk songs and impassioned accordions among other delights. Happily shedding any traces of irony (which mar many a "downtown" venture), his band wades thigh deep into the songs, led by Baptista's wonderfully guttural vocals. And what a fine band! With New York stalwarts like guitarist Marc Ribot and bassist Greg Cohen joined by Chango Spasiuk (accordion) and Romero Lubambo (acoustic guitar), Baptista has a assembled a group both light on its feet and capable of negotiating the trickiest of rhythmic passages and deliriously romantic melodies with wit, enthusiasm, and grace. Highly recommended.

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