298

Grupo Choro Rasgado: Baba de Calango

Matt Cibula By

Sign in to view read count
Grupo Choro Rasgado: Baba de Calango Choro, a jazz form with roots in both European classical music and Afro-Brazilian samba music, originated in Rio de Janeiro in the 1920s as Brazil's first real instrumental music. In Portuguese, "choro" means "to cry," and some choro musicians really go for the weepy stuff. But this four-piece band from Sao Paulo isn't interested in making anyone cry. For the most part, these songs cook along in a brisk up-tempo style, with a light touch and a sense of humor that should take them pretty far in this game.

The two main masterminds of Grupo Choro Rasgado (translated by the band as "Enthusiastic Choro Group") are its two guitarists. Zé Barbeiro plays the one with seven strings, and Alessandro Penezzi plays the one with six. Both of them are accomplished stylists, and their interplay is stunning; the way they feed off each other's solos on tunes like "Na Segunda Ele Fica Vermelho" is jawdropping. Their compositions are remarkably similar in style; I thought at first that Barbeiro was the more "serious" one and Penezzi the "frivolous" one, but the latter's "Pititi," a gentle tune for his son, and the former's "Baba de Calango" ("Lizard Drool"), a spirited barnburner, made me rethink that opinion. So I guess it doesn't really matter who writes what when they are so much on the same wavelength.

Although these two are the stars, Rodrigo y Castro's flute work really holds these songs together, especially when he gets to state the melody in pieces like "Choro Vesgo." The percussion line is held down by Roberta Valente on the tuned tamborine-like pandeiro. She even gets to test her virtuosity on two songs named for her: "Roberta, a Valente" ("Roberta, the Brave") has rhythmic twists and turns like a Hot Wheels track, and "Roberta, Olha o Breque!" ("Roberta, Watch Out for the Break!") demands that she be ready to provide funky fills at weird moments. If these tunes are tests, she seems to have passed handily.

I could go on and on about the wonderful guest work by their many friends, including Arismar do Espirito Santo on occasional bass and the two tunes that use string quartets in very different ways, but it's a lot quicker to just say that this is the kind of gutsy, fresh-sounding project that will blow the cobwebs out of any jazz fan's head. High marks for this recording, and for the huge potential of this nimble, adorable group.


Track Listing: Baba de Calango; Na Segunda Ele Fica Vermelho; So Braz; Do Borogod; Carmen; Choro Pra Karina; Pititi; Roberta, a Valente; Lacaniana; Choro Vesgo; Cuspindo Marimbondo; Roberta, Olha o Breque!; Cha de Macaco; Ao Mestre.

Personnel: Roberta Valente: pandeiro; Alessandro Penezzi: six-string guitar; Rodrigo y Castro: flute; Z Barbeiro: seven-string guitar; Arismar do Espirito Santo: bass; Milton de Mori: mandolin, arrangements; Fabricio Rosil: cavaquinho; Ricardo Valverde: surdo; Alexandre Cunha: violin; Gustavo Cunha: violin; Davi Caverni: viola; Julio Cerezzo: cello; Caito Marcondes: percussion; Toninho Ferragutti: accordion; Larco de Freitas: piano; Julio Csar: repique de anel, tamborins; Ildo Silva: cavaquinho.

Year Released: 2006 | Style: Brazilian


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Niechęć" CD/LP/Track Review Niechęć
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "Some Morning" CD/LP/Track Review Some Morning
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: March 2, 2016
Read "Freedom is a State of Mind" CD/LP/Track Review Freedom is a State of Mind
by Dave Wayne
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "The Havana Sessions" CD/LP/Track Review The Havana Sessions
by James Nadal
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Troy Collins
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "El Barranco" CD/LP/Track Review El Barranco
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!