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BossaCucaNova: Our Kind of Bossa

Chris M. Slawecki By

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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) 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 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) 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's funky horns and the rhythm guitar riff to the Rolling Stones' "Monkey Man" (the band describes it as "Stones + Tower of Power + 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."

Track Listing: Adeus América; Deixa a Menina; Balança (Não Pode Parar!); A Pedida É Samba; É Preciso Perdoar; Segure Tudo; Ficar; Waldomiro Pena; Deixa Pra Lá; Rio de Inspiracão; Tô Voltando.

Personnel: José Arimatéia: trumpet; Marcio Bahia: drums; Dado Brother: chorus, drums, percussion, tamborim; Os Cariocas: vocals; Zé Carlos: guitar; Oscar Castro-Neves: acoustic guitar; Teresa Cristina: vocals; Martinho da Vila: vocals; José Alves Da Silva: violin; Cris Delanno: vocals; Laudir DeOliveira: congas; DJ Dalua: beats, reco-reco, scratching, sounds; Donatinho: keyboards; Eliane Farias: vocals; David Feldman: piano; Glauco Fernandes: violin; Pedro Frederico: violin; Leo Gandelman: flute, baritone saxophone; Daniel Guedes: violin; Carlos Eduardo Hack: violin; Dirceu Leite: clarinet; Fernando Magalhães: guitar; Marcela Mangabeira: vocals; Flavio Mende: vocals, guitar, string arrangement and conductor; Thais Mendes: viola; Márcio Menescal: Fender jazz bass, guitar, mini harp, synthesizer bass; Roberto Menescal: bass arrangements, guitars; Monobloco: vocals, percussion; Alex Moreira: clavinet, Fender Rhodes, guitar, keyboards, moog synthesizer, piano, sampling, vibraphone; Jaques Morelenbaum: cello; Moska: vocals; Leo Ortiz: violin; Jesuina Passaroto: viola; Iura Ranevsky: cello, registrant; Maria Rita: vocals; Rene Rossano: guitar; Claudia Grosso Couto Salles: cello; Emilio Santiago: vocals; Pretinho Da Serrinha Cavaquinho: percussion; Marlon Sette: muted trombone, trombone; Rodrigo Sha: vocals, flute, baritone saxophone; Sidinho: mouth harp, percussion; Wilson Simoninha: vocals; Elza Soares: vocals; Tia Surica: vocals; Marcos Suzano: percussion; Tiago Torres: drums; Guto Wirtti: acoustic bass.

Title: Our Kind of Bossa | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Six Degrees Records


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