On my first visit to Rio in 1989, with the WBGO Music and Beaches Tour, I went to a music store where you could play a record first to see if you liked it. Someone suggested Marco Pereira's 1987 Circulo das Cordas, on the Brazilian Som Da Gente label, and when I heard that first track Pereira's thrilling, driving "Num Pagode em Planaltina," with its scat-singing introduction and startling use of the "slap" technique I didn't needd to hear any more. I wore the whole record out in the ensuing years, while I hunted for that tune on CD.
And now it's finally here, part of this sparkling collection of solo pieces by Pereira, along with his description of how he developed the "slap" for classical guitar (punching several holes in the soundboard in the process). In fact, he provides interesting insights on each tune: their geographical context within the vast musical riches of Brazil, their personal inspiration, and the diverse rhythms used. For fans of this music who only recognize the samba and the baiao, here's an introduction to the partida alto, frevo, choro, chamame and forro, with technical notes on how they translate to the guitar (note: the printed scores for each piece are also available from gspguitar.com). The blues and bebop are also represented, along with a tribute to soccer.
Pereira, formerly a professor of guitar and functional harmony at the University of Brasilia, has a gift for explaining his songs so clearly that even the non-player can understand their construction. Revelling in their sound, however, requires absolutely no assistance. Original is a bouquet of different colors and moods, some pieces long part of Pereira's repertoire, and others never published or played before. His mastery of the instrument is complete, his melodies beautiful and memorable. While "Num Pagode..." is worth the price of admission all by itself, this CD is full of elegance, joy and light; it's a splendid followup to Valsas Brasilieras.
Track Listing: Tio Boros, Flor das Aguas, Tempo de Futebol, Seu Tonico na Ladeira, Nostalgicas, No. 2, O Choro de Juliana, Sarara, Num Pagode em Planaltina, Estrela da Manha, Bate-coxa, Cantiga, Vadiagem, Chama-me!, Baiao Cansado