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Worlds Apart, Whirled Together

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Our Kind of Bossa BossaCucaNova
Our Kind of Bossa
Six Degrees
2014

Our Kind of Bossa celebrates fifteen fun years of BossaCucaNova, one of Brazil's most adventurous contemporary ensembles (and was also timed to coincide with Brazil hosting the 2014 soccer World Cup). These eleven tracks fuse the electro-bossa nova for which the group is best known with samba and other dance rhythms from their homeland, and celebrate the BossaCucaNova core quartet—Marcio Menescal (son of bossa nova pioneer Roberto Menescal
Roberto Menescal
Roberto Menescal
b.1937
guitar
) on bass, DJ Marcelinho DaLua, engineer/producer Alex Moreira doubling on keyboards, vocalist Cris Delanno and percussionist Dado Brother— that's been together for more than a decade.

"We conduct research on a daily basis," says Moreria. "DJ DaLua spends hours visiting second hand music shops around the world in search of old vinyl LPs. Every one of us makes suggestions, presenting rare MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) tracks and adding them to our playlist. During the recording sessions, we opt for the coolest ones."

The best moments on Our Kind of Bossa are genuinely exquisite. "Adeus América" spills over with electronic chill and funk plus enough Brazilian star power—lead vocals by Wilson Simoninha, a trombone solo by Marlon Sette, guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves
Oscar Castro-Neves
Oscar Castro-Neves
1940 - 2013
guitar
in the rhythm track and vocal ensemble Os Cariocas (which dates back to the early 1940s) washing everything in cool liquid sound—to light up all of the band's native homeland. One could write an entire sidepiece about the opening sound of this opening tune, a delightful soundswirl of low-fi and futuristic technology, before it glides through a groove that reaches back to the classic bossa nova feel of the 1960s, when this music (and lots of other music) was bright and new and warm and full of possibilities. Background vocals wash over the singalong samba "Deixa Pra Lá" like languid warm sunshine bathing a Rio beach as alto saxophone trails Teresa Cristina's lead vocal like a happy dog prancing along the water's edge.

"É Precisco Perdoar" (by Joao Gilberto
Joao Gilberto
Joao Gilberto
b.1931
vocalist
) sambas upon Emilio Santiago's smooth, suave lead vocal and orchestration, conducted by Flávio Mendes, which shimmers with elegance and grace. "Waldomiro Pena" (Jorge Ben) rocks and rolls upon Simoninha's lead vocal, Leo Gandelman
Leo Gandelman
Leo Gandelman
b.1956
saxophone
's funky horns and the rhythm guitar riff to the Rolling Stones
Rolling Stones
Rolling Stones

band/orchestra
' "Monkey Man" (the band describes it as "Stones + Tower of Power
Tower of Power
Tower of Power
b.1968
band/orchestra
+ Rio de Janiero") and fades with a wailing siren, like it's a party gone out of control.

One of the best summertime party releases you'll ever spin, Our Kind of Bossa closes with "Tô Voltando," a bacchanal celebration of Brazil and its culture that crackles and pops with funky rhythm guitar and horns and sing-song chorus. "Somehow we keep doing it our own way, with our own beat, in a unique studio process and production that makes this band so special and timeless," Menescal explains. "We play and produce wholeheartedly and the albums are consistent."

Fire Eufórquestra
Fire
Self Produced
2014

Although Fire is their fourth studio album, it also marks two milestone "firsts" in the history of jam masters Euforquestra: The band's first studio album since the live album Let Us In straddled their 2009 relocation from Iowa City, Iowa, to Fort Collins, Colorado; and their first studio album managed by an external producer, keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth from The String Cheese Incident. "Kyle helped with pretty much every aspect of shaping songs for this record," explains group guitarist and vocalist Matt Tallman. "He edited lyrics and song forms; he helped with bass lines, guitar parts, saxophone melodies, etc. He really did a little bit of everything." Other guests include trumpeter Gabriel Mervine (from The Motet) and vocalists Elliot Martin (from John Brown's Body) and Kim Dawson.

Like most of this set, its first two tunes—"The Price is Right" and the title track—swivel-hip from Tallman's snaky rhythm guitar and pungent horns that blast their arrangements like a roundhouse gut punch. The rollicking instrumental "Momo Lolo" washes up from the rhythmic shores of New Orleans, full of snare rolls and cymbal splashes from drummer Craig Babineau and chili pepper solos by guitar and trumpet, all culminating in a joyous, tumultuous closing collective jam. More topically, "64-18" tells, in Little Feat
Little Feat
Little Feat

band/orchestra
funk and rock, the tale of the November 2012 vote that legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado: "They're passing it easy, they're pushing it through/ Now 64-18 is funding your schools."



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