How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
One of the reasons I love music so much is that even after 45+ years of listening, it is a continual source of delight and surprise. No boredom here! Over time, our listening habits change, but sometimes old friends return to visit. I hate to admit it, but over the years I've forgotten about a lot of music that at one time or another really stoked my passions.
Such is the case for me with the music of Moacir Santos
. As a very young disc jockey in Boston in the 1970s, I became enchanted with the music on his LP Coisas, which is now long out of print. So out of print that I would have forgotten about him entirely. Now some 30 years later, the music of an old friend returns thanks to the vision of Adventure Music's Rich Zirinsky. According to Rich, after just a few weeks on the market, Ouro Negro (Black Gold) is garnering excellent sales worldwide. And no wonder. This all star tribute to Santos features inspired performances of Santos' original compositions, called Coisas (things).
Undertaking a large scale musical project in any genre is a risky proposition, but on this wonderful 2-CD set, twenty-eight tunes provide a two hour tapestry of foot tapping joy, courtesy of the all star production team of Mario Adnet and Ze' Nogueira. This is no easy listening project, but it is enjoyable to listen to at any volume. As background, it will soothe you, and don't be surprised if you find yourself humming tunes in your headlong after the music is off. Myself, I prefer to turn the volume up and bathe in the sweet spot, and it is here where the music shines. How could it not, with the lineup of musicians that ranks with Brazil's best, including Milton Nascimento, Joao Bosco, Gilberto Gil and Ed Motta.
About the compositional style of Moacir Santos. It's dense and imaginative. The tunes all have their own personalities and they evoke a lifetime of diverse experience, so please check them out. I can't comment on the technical aspects of his compositions, but I can feel texture and see vivid colors when listening to this record.
In order to pull off such a feat, it was necessary to stuff an orchestra into the recording studio and make it blend in. This comes off without a hitch. The intention was to assemble a dream team to reproduce the arrangements per intention, and this also is a success. All 28 tunes have something special to say. No lowlights on this 2 CD set. Check it out for yourself.
Congratulations to Adventure Music! Ouro Negro is a magnificent triumph. It transports you in the way that only the best music can. And the journey is to a magical place where music and color dance together and people are happy. In a troubled world, it is reassuring to meet an old friend, and to become reacquainted with the genius of a true master who places a premium on transcendent joy.