The Usual Suspects

This is all besides almost anything by Chico Buarque...Some people say his all-time best recording is the album called Chico Buarque ao Vivo, Paris, Le Zenith. I myself am extremely fond of Meus Caros Amigos...All CDs donated to our site automatically become part of the Sheila Thomson Collection of Brazilian Culture at Florida International University in Miami.

Bassoon and...samba? This is supposed to be about Marisa Monte's latest, Universo ao meu redor, dedicated, as she puts it, to the "atmosphere of samba." It's a delicate, sweet, and impeccable homage to Brazil's national sound. It has a companion Brazilian pop CD called Infinito particular. We like Marisa as a pop diva, too, but adore her when she dons her sambista hat (and heart). Anyway, here's the bassoon (featured in both discs) part: remember the heart-rendering solo at the beginning of Cartola's "Preciso me encontrar" in the movie "City of God?" That was the great Airton Barbosa. His son, Juliano, knew instinctively that those mournful, sometimes funny sounds are at home and help create the atmosphere in the universe of samba...and Marisa seems to agree.
Elza Soares. Her wigs make you think of a lioness...and that's what she is, really. Elza has survived poverty, slander, and unbearable loss to reign supreme as the "queen of samba." This CD earned a 10++ from us. Buy it and you'll find out why.  The one track where she sings accompanied only by Marcos Suzano on pandeiro is to die for! 
Reencontro, Leila Pinheiro Canta Ivan Lins and Gonzaguinha. Leila has been around for a while now and is definitely one of the usual suspects now...This is one of the most wonderful CDs she's ever recorded. 
Catavento e Girassol, Leila Pinheiro sings songs by Guinga and Aldir Blanc. This is's the one I chose for Guinga's autograph...that's how much I love it. And so does he!
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Gilberto Gil: O Sol de Oslo, Gilberto Gil gets together with a bunch of extremely talented musicians, Brazilian and non, and we get a very rootsy Brazilian CD, filled with lovely music. Thank São Paulo label Pau Brasil and Blue Jackel for catching Gil before he re-signed with Warner to record his best in a few years. It's now being released by Biscoito Fino in Rio.

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Joyce: Astronauta, Canções de Elis, Blue Jackel Entertainment CD 5029-2. Joyce pays homage to the singer who helped launch her career as a songwriter. Recorded in New York, with Joe Lovano, Dori Caymmi, Tutty Moreno, Mulgrew Miller, Rodolfo Stroeter and others.

  João Bosco: Dá licença meu senhor, Sony Music Epic CD 758.230/2-479213. The man my friend Dennis Miller calls "distilled samba" has come out with a disc that made my top-ten list at first at first listening here! His guitar playing is in magnificent form and his singing reminds me of his first recordings. The selection is superb: from folk to classics by Ary Barroso and Noel Rosa. Special bonus: duets with Martinho da Vila and Daniela Mercury (this one in No Tabuleiro da Baiana by Ary). I bought this CD for my birthday...what a present it turned out to be!!

Gilberto Gil Acoustic, produced by Gil himself, Atlantic Jazz CD 82564-2. Gil is in top form revisiting some of his great hits: Expresso 2222, Toda menina baiana, Realce and what a beautiful rendition of Sampa by Caetano Veloso!

Gal Costa: Mina d'água do meu canto, BMG US Latin CD 74321-26323-2. Gal Costa sings classic compositions by Chico Buarque and Caetano Veloso. Some all-time favorites: Odara, Quem te viu, quem te vê, Cajuína (it sounds beautiful!) and Caetano's tribute to his mother tongue, Língua. We would have liked to see some notes and the lyrics too. Next time, don't be so cheap, guys!

Milton Nascimento: Clube da Esquina and Clube da Esquina 2, World PacificCDP7243 8 30429 2 0 and CDP 0777 7 91606 2 4. We waited for years for the release on CD of these two gems Milton recorded in the early seventies. Milton himself supervised the remastering at the Abbey Road Studios in London. Give yourself or someone you love a great gift!

Caetano Veloso: Fina Estampa en vivo, Polygram CD 314 528 918-2. A live performance of some of the songs from his studio CD below, but that's not all. The show includes Soy Loco por Ti, América, Você esteve com meu bem?, a bossa nova song written by João Gilberto, Haiti, and other classics from Latin America that did not fit in the first CD.
Caetano Veloso: Fina Estampa, Polygram CD 314 522 745-2. Caetano gives new life to old favorites from all over Latin America, and his Spanish accent is very good. On the cover, a picture of Caetano looking like a "caballero de fina estampa" himself. Great gift for all lovers of classic Latin America songwriters life Rafael Hernandez from Puerto Rico. And Capullito de Alheli has me dancing every time! Beautiful arrangements by cellist Jaques Morelenbaum and Caetano Veloso.

Maria Bethania: Álibi, Polygram Verve CD 836 011-2. Maria Bethania is Caetano's sister. Not only that, she has been for the past 30 years one of Brazil's greatest singers, a superstar in her own right. A lot of her recordings are available in the US, and almost anything she recorded is great. If you're talking torch songs, then she's at the top of my list. I'm particularly fond of this one, because she sings some of my all-time favorites: Diamante Verdadeiro, by her brother Caetano, Ronda by Paulo Vanzolini and Sonho Meu, a samba by Dona Ivone Lara, the doyenne of samba composers in Rio.

Caetano e Gil: Tropicália 2, Polygram CD 518 178-2. Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil recorded this one celebrating the 25th anniversary of their Tropicália record (which is also available on CD now). These guys are still making the establishment raise their eyebrows, to say the least...just listen to Haiti and you'll understand why.

Brazilian CDs