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Alexandre Cunha: Batepapo

Budd Kopman By

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Brazilian music must be among the happiest in the world, as its rhythms sway in the soft breeze of Rio. Of course, it's more than just bossa nova or party music, and Batepapo is a virtual primer in its many different rhythms and melodic styles. Alexandre Cunha, an endlessly inventive master drummer, drives this music with a light but forceful touch. Even listeners who are not particularly attracted to so-called world music that is based predominantly of rhythmic forms, forgoing melodic and harmonic complexity, will be pleasantly surprised by the sophistication of this recording.

Cunha seems to have a wide circle of musical friends, and many musicians play on the record in different formations, but the standouts are Mareclo Martins (saxophones), Arthur Maia (bass) and Mauricio Piassarollo (keyboards). The record is a real group effort, however, and the camaraderie is immediately apparent from the first note to the last.

"Bachiao" has a wonderful storytelling quality, while "Bate Papo," which starts off with the familiar Brazilian drum patterns of Mardi Gras, changes into a very sophisticated saxophone solo. "Un Baio En Forma De Poema" features guitar and accordion, "Ritmo De Viagem" a gorgeous soprano sax solo. "Estilo Consagrado" is a homage to Milton Banana and Mauricio Einhorn. "Passarinho" features Martins' very smooth saxophone in a very tight quintet, while "Tambores" gives Cunha a chance to play some melodic solo drums. Beneath everything is virtuosic electric bass and percussion, with Cunha always leading the way.

Surprisingly ingratiating, with superior musicianship, Batepapo is an wonderful entrée into the world of Brazilian music.

Track Listing: Bachiao; Bate Papo; Pescador; Ritmo de Viagem; Gosto de Sal; Post-Scriptum; Passarinho; Um Baiao em Forma de Poema; Estilo Consagrado; Tambores.

Personnel: Alexandre Cunha: drums, blocks, percussion; Thomas Kuji: saxophone; Bertl Mayer: gaita; Marcio Tubino: flute; Marcelo Onofri: keyboard; Alegre Correa: violao; Seginho Carvalho: bass; Marcelo Martins: saxophones; Mauricio Piassarollo: keyboards; Airton Moreira: percussion; Sandro Leme: percussion; Riberto Belix: percussion; Ricardo Oliveira: percussion; Guilherme Lima: percussion; Dominguinhos: accordion; Mauricio Odery: violao; Arthur Maia: bass; Christiano Oliveira: bass; Fernando Baeta: violao.

Title: Batepapo | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Self Produced

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