This is the first page of reviews of various Brazilian Music collections. This selection is limited by my budget and by the availability of records which make it here to the good old US of A... But if you have any favorite compilations which you think should be included here, please feel free to write me and make a suggestion.
Various Artists "1st COMPASSO: SAMBA & CHORO" (Biscoito Fino, 2000)
Various Artists "2nd COMPASSO: SAMBA & CHORO" (Biscoito Fino, 2000)
Various Artists "3rd COMPASSO: SAMBA & CHORO" (Biscoito Fino, 2001)
Various Artists "4th COMPASSO: SAMBA & CHORO" (Biscoito Fino, 2001)
Various Artists "5th COMPASSO: SAMBA & CHORO" (Biscoito Fino, 2001)
Various Artists "6th COMPASSO: SAMBA & CHORO" (Biscoito Fino, 2001)
Various Artists "7th COMPASSO: SAMBA & CHORO" (Biscoito Fino, 2001)
An excellent series of live peformances of old-fashioned samba and choro, with a slew of talented traditionalists and jazz-oriented MPB artists. As the series picks up steam, the musicians become higher-profile, better known artists. The stars include Elton Medeiros, Guinga, Muicha, Francis and Olivia Hime, and Joyce. Far more numerous are the more obscure artists, such as Trio Madeira Brasil, Quarteto Maogani, Luciana Rabello, and others whose fortes lie with the older acoustic styles. A lilt of samba, a whiff of jazz, and a classical touch all combine in these fine performances staged in the Paco Imperial do Rio De Janeiro. Recommended!
Various Artists "AFRO-BRAZILIAN RELIGIOUS SONGS: CANTIGAS DE CANDOMBLE" (Lyricord, 1977)
(Produced by Gerard Behague)
Real-deal Bahian Orixa music recorded in 1967-75 by University of Texas scholar Gerard Henri Behague, one of the leading scholars of Afro-Brazilian religious music. This features plenty of heavy-duty African-based drumming, with keening choruses backing a lead vocal, all in praise of various deities such as Ogun, Oxala and Exu... If you want to look into candomble music, this is an excellent place to start.
Various Artists "AGO PIXINGUINHA: 100 ANOS" (Som Livre, 1997)
This is a very nice, very classy, very well-programmed and listenable tribute to choro pioneer Pixinguinha. This impressive 2-CD that gathers together classic performances of MPB stars such as Maria Bethania, Joao Bosco, Chico Buarque, Nana Caymmi, Paulinho Da Viola, Tom Jobim, Simone, Caetano Veloso and others, assembled by producer Herminio Bello De Carvalho, who worked with Pixinguinha in his twilight years, and who remembers him fondly in an essay included in a thick set of liner notes. There's also a long interview with Pixinguinha, and nice archival photos, as well as vintage choro recordings by Jacob Do Bandolim and Pixinguinha himself. A great introduction to his work, with plenty of information and memorabilia to back up the sweet-sounding music. Recommended!
Various Artists "A ONDA QUE SE ERGUEU NO MAR" (Universal, 2002)
An insider's view of bossa nova. Ruy Castro, who compiled this 2-CD collection wrote the book on bossa nova -- literally -- and assembled this set as a companion piece to his fine history of the style, Bossa Nova: The Story Of The Brazilian Music That Seduced The World, and to the as-yet untranslated sequel, A Onda Que Se Ergueu No Mar. Some of these selections seem a bit staid and don't do much for me, but then again, who am I to argue with an expert? Mostly this is a great sampler, and includes many songs and artists who are well off the radar, many of which are real gems and rare finds. Highly recommended.
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA '96" (PolyGram, 1996)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA '97" (PolyGram, 1997)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA '98" (PolyGram, 1998)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA '99" (PolyGram, 1999)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA 2000" (PolyGram, 2000)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA 2001" (PolyGram, 2001)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA 2002" (PolyGram, 2002)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA 2003" (PolyGram, 2003)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA 2004" (PolyGram, 2004)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA 2005" (PolyGram, 2005)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA 2006" (PolyGram, 2006)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA 2007" (PolyGram, 2007)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA 2008" (PolyGram, 2008)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA 2009" (PolyGram, 2009)
Various Artists "AXE BAHIA 2010" (PolyGram, 2010)
This series features the big pop hits in contemporary axe music, mainly lightweight, booty-shakin' party tunes, which mix a heavy Caribbean soca influence with the sexy Afro-Brazilian rhythmic style. A good way to sample newer bands such as E O Tchan, Banda Eva, Timbalada and Netinho -- and to catch up on the current dance tunes. I'm not wild about most of this stuff, but chances are if you visit Brazil, this is the music you'll hear surging out of the radios and dance clubs. Many Brazilian readers have written to tell me they loathe this music and are embarassed by it... Hey, tell me about it: North America came up with Taylor Hicks, Celine Dion and Britney Spears, so I know what you're talking about. Anyway, one glimpse at the artwork will tell you pretty much all you need to know about this series...
Various Artists "AXE MUSIC" (PolyGram, 1996)
More Bahian pop -- in one sense this is a sort of nondescript collection, although in a way that's kind of nice, since some of the artists are lesser-known one-hit wonder types...Highlights include a cover of Caetano Veloso's "Baby," by someone called Sarajane, and a samba-reggae medley by Margareth Menezes.
World Music Index