Brazilian Album Reviews

This is a listing of miscellaneous albums and artists under the letter "Z".

If an artist or album you like is not reviewed here, please feel free
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Zabumbatuq "(za-BOOM-ba-TOOC)" (Quizamba Music, 1996)
A modern jazz band withith Brazilian-born bassist Leonardo Cioglia...

Aristides Zaccarias - see artist discography

Z'Africa Brasil "Tem Cor Age" (Y Brazil, 2006)
Raw-throated, gritty regional hip-hop, with a dense, solid sound and vigorous explorations of various Brazilian styles... Not my cup of tea, but potentially very interesting to anyone who's into global hip-hop or Brazilian rock and soul.

Z'Africa Brasil "Verdade E Traumatismo" (Livin' Astro, 2007)

Zaira "Simplesamente" (RGE, 1979) (LP)

Celso Zambel "Espirito Da Noite" (Som Livre, 1979) (LP)

(Grupo) Zambo "Bahia" (Discos Marcus Pereira, 1976) (LP)

Mario Zan "Brincando De Escola Com Mario Zan" (RCA Victor, 1959)
I don't know the back story on accordionist Mario Zan, but this old album is probably most noteworthy as the recording debut of future teen star Wanderley Cardoso. He sings "Cancao Do Jornaleiro" towards the end of the album...

Mario Zan "Raizes Sertanejos" (2007)

Mario Zan "Nova Serie" (WEA, 2008)

Mario Zan "Warner 30 Anos" (WEA, 2008)

Inacio Zatz "La Nave: A Volta Ao Mundo Em 19 Melodias" (Dabliu, 1998)

Inacio Zatz "Zatz" (Dabliu, 2000)
A striking, surprising, and quite pleasant new example of the Brazilian mix'n'match method of music making... The album opens on a potentially troublesome note -- a piercing, BB King-style, electric blues riff, the sort of thing that in the United States has signified a muscle-bound, moribund musical genre ("urban blues") that has completely lost its creative edge for the last few decades... Naturally, when you hear someone in Brazil pick up a twang bar and wail away, your first instinct is to run and hide -- yet far from sucking, Inacio Zatz is a gas. For one thing, he's not a blues musician... at least he's not limited to the style. Actually, he doesn't seem to be limited to any style: this is an impressively eclectic record, incorporating bossa nova, afro-bloco percussion, Asian traditional and various shades of rock with equal ease. A few overly-goofy moments, but on the whole, well worth checking out!

Inacio Zatz "Santos Football Club Lonely Band" (Inacio Zatz, 2004)

Zeca Do Trombone & Roberto Sax "Zeca Do Trombone & Roberto Sax" (Pirata, 1976) (LP)
A very sleek and sexy funk-jazz set from two of the best-known session players on the Brazilian '70s soul scene. Zeca do Trombone takes the lead vocals (frequently backed by a female chorus) and though he doesn't have a strong voice, he sounds pretty cool, make the most of his gravelly, old-man tone. The arrangements are brisk and light, but cheerful and compelling, too. If you're a fan of Tim Maia, Banda Black Rio or other artists of similar vintage, you'll want to check this album out: for my money, it's one of the best records in the genre.

Zeca Do Trombone "Roto Mar" (Timbre, 1980) (LP)
Honestly, he sounds a little long in the tooth here... The bland funk/soul arrangements sound kinda slack, and his vocals sound positively geriatric. Not sure what was going on, but it's certainly a big change in energy level and immediacy from his previous efforts just a few years earlier. Oh, well.

Zeca Do Trombone "Gafieria" (Universal, 2001)
(Produced by Rildo Hora)

Latter-day gafieria jazz instrumentals, tilting in this case to the "smooth jazz" side of things -- too safe and too controlled for my tastes... Also, I'm not terribly fond of the trombone as a lead instrument. Sorry. Not my cup of gafieria.

Zeca Do Trombone "Um Trombone Em Simonal" (Atracao, 2012)

Zege & The Silver Jets "Zege & The Silver Jets" (Rozenblit, 1972)
An early album by pop singer Ze Geraldo... It's fairly clumsy jovem guarda-meets-psych/pop material, in the Roberto Carlos style, but not as well produced or performed. It's okay, though, mostly a curio. There are only a few tracks on here are ones I'd want to come back to and listen to just for fun, including a couple with a Ray Charles beat to 'em... A lot of sluggish, organ-heavy ballads, though, and those are less fun.

Ze Di "Samba" (Tapecar, 1973)

Ze Do Baiao "Pegou Fogo No Forro" (Master) (LP)

Zenilton "Namoro No Escuro" (Tropicana, 1973)
A later album from this legendary forro star, who apparently has about a bazillion albums out... Although there is stylistic variety here -- including straight forro and baiao, samba and frevo -- it's still one of those regional/forro sets that might be hard to get into if you're not already a fan of the style. I found him to be a very appealing performer, though, particularly as a vocalist. He's got a much smoother tone than Luiz Gonzaga, for example, and he's not as boisterous as Jackson Do Pandeiro... Perhaps if you like Ary Lobo, you might dig Zenilton as well?

Tom Ze - see artist discography

Zezinho & Os Copacabana "Mesa De Pista" (Odeon, 1957)

Zezinho "Mesa De Pista, v.2" (Odeon, 1959)
A mix of swank, bluesy, big-band instrumental dance tunes and more samba-tinged vocal numbers. The vocal tracks are best: although the band is more than competent, the instrumentals are a little too soft-centered and middle-of-the-road for me, a little too Harry James-ian, though sometimes he starts to edge into Tito Puente-esque Latin dance mode. The songs are pretty sweet and pretty sly, though, and their arrangements tend to be more "Brazilian" for some reason. Worth a spin, for sure, particularly if you're interested in old samba-cancao that has a hint of Cuban swing.

Zezinho "Mesa De Pista, v.2" (Odeon, 1959)
An even slicker sound, but quite satisfying; if Zezinho had been doing a sort of Brazilian Tito Puente thing before, here's he's more in a Perez Prado-meets-Beny More mode. Nice stuff! The vocals are even smoother and more assured... Quite listenable and fun... If you enjoy samba-cancao nostalgia trips, this disc is a doozy!

Zil "Zil" (Verve, 1990)
Horrible fusion-jazz, with lamentable debts to Milton Nascimento, Pat Metheny and various vocal harmony groups. It's a talented (or at least technically proficient) crew, including modern Braz-jazzers such as Claudio Nucci, Ze Renato, Ricardo Silveira and others... But it's just awful, pointless, blechhy music. Not my cup of tea.

Zimbo Trio - see artist discography

Claudio Zoli - see artist discography

Zuco 103 "Outro Lado" (Ziriguiboom/Six Degrees, 2000)
Zuco 103 "The Other Side EP" (Ziriguiboom/Six Degrees, 2000)

A canny mix of Brazilian MPB, soul, and European trip-hop/dance styles. This Dutch ensemble features the sleek vocals of Brazilian expatriate, Lilian Veira... It took me a while to place the feel of her style, but finally it dawned on me: if Sade had spoken Portuguese, the result might have been much like this. This is a sugary, languid album, which should blow the minds of the soul-ier club kids, though those of a more traditional, less electronic bent may find their attention wandering after a while. The Other Side EP gets even clubbier and more house-y.

Zuco 103 "Tales Of High Fever" (Ziriguiboom/Six Degrees, 2002)
I liked Zuco's first album, but they lost me a little on this one. It's too disco-y, too retro for me to enjoy, and -- sadly -- Lilian Veira's vocals seem a bit too shrill. I think she's trying for a Chaka Khan soulfulness, but she's really just got a Gal Costa voice. Nonetheless, that's just my personal take on this album. I'm sure that anyone into clubbier, loungier, kitschier, hipper, more electronic lifestyle will find this album irresistible. It's a densely-layered, intricate pop mosaic, with a wider stylistic range than my description might imply. On the later tracks there are some cool numbers based on Afro-Brazilian percussion; there's also a noteworthy cover of Jorge Ben's "Bebete Vambora..." But in the long run, this just ain't my cup of tea.

Zuco 103 "One Down, One Up" (Crammed Disc/Six Degrees, 2003)

Zuco 103 "One Down" (EP) (Crammed Disc/Six Degrees, 2003)

Zuco 103 "One Up" (EP) (Crammed Disc/Six Degrees, 2003)

Zuco 103 "Whaa!" (Crammed Disc/Six Degrees, 2005)
Their best album so far, by far. A great, giddy modern Euro-Brazilian world-pop album, marking a quantum leap up from the band's first two albums from a few years back. On the opening track, "Na Magueira," singer Lilian Vieira bursts forth with an incandescent homage to the sprightly jazzy rhythm style of Elza Soares -- Vieira's version being draped in a contemporary techno-tinged sound mix... The band's roots in Europhilic dance music come back to the fore in a few of the house-ier tracks, but their explorations of African pop (on "Duele Le Le") and cameos by dub reggae legend Lee "Scratch" Perry make this album their richest, most resonant album to date. Nice stuff; as catchy as it is clever, and as propulsive as it is playful. Recommended.

Zuco 103 "After The Carnaval" (Six Degrees/Dox-Netherlands, 2008)
(Produced by Zuco 103)

Brazilian electro-pop from the Zuco crew, who have always been a bit on the clubby side, but had a strong grounding in contemporary Afro-Brazilian styles as well. They get super-technoed out on a few tracks, particularly the aggressively house-y, Euro-flavored "Beija A Mim," one of the first songs on the album, but then delve deeper into samba and soft-soul as the album goes on. Lead vocalist Lilian Vieira has a reedy, Sade-ish feel which hardens when she turns to more samba-flavored material; each of these styles will find their fans, as this is an album that offers a variety of tempos and tones. If you enjoyed their earlier albums, you'll want to check this out as well... Overall, it'll probably have the greatest appeal for the club-kids contingent, but Braziliophiles will dig it, too.

Zumba Cinco "Zumba Cinco" (Musicdisc, 1964)

Zumbira E Os Palmares "Rock Samba" (Independente, 2007)

Zuzuca "O Bom Sambista" (CBS/Okeh, 1972) (LP)

Zuzuca "Zuzuca" (CBS/Okeh, 1974) (LP)

Brazilian Music - Compilation Albums

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