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Bossacucanova: The Best of Bossacucanova

Chris M. Slawecki By

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Few bands have built upon the legacy of their chosen field the way that BossaCucaNova has advanced the music of their native Brazil. Their story begins about two decades ago, when three amigos—DJ Marcelinho DaLua, Alex Moreira and Marcio Menescal, son of bossa nova pioneer Roberto Menescal—began remixing classic 1960s bossa nova just for the fun of it. Five albums later, their Best of compilation presents "our best arrangements, most original beats, and top performances," Marcio explains, plus two new tunes for this collection.

History mashes up into the modern nearly everywhere you turn. The opening "Berimbau" features Os Cariocas, a Brazilian vocal group founded in 1942. "Berimbau" is named for one of Brazil's oldest, most revered stringed instruments; Marcio grounds this track in his father's original recording of this tune (you can even hear needle dropping onto vinyl) and then reshuffles its sonic deck. Os Cariocas returns for "Adeus América" with vocal shadings that cool the tropical heat of Marlon Sette's trombone solo and brilliant horn arrangement.

You also often meet the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim, though you might not immediately recognize him in these colorful, digitized grooves. "Meditação" also grows from the elder Menescal's original recording: Marcio cuts it back to a lilting trip-hop groove and then spreads the languid vocal from Wanda Sa (guest starring from Sergio Mendes' Brazil '65) across the beat like thick, sticky-sweet marmalade—a taste of the Thievery Corporation producing Bebel Gilberto. Electric guitar traces each fluid verse of "Água De Beber" like a Brazilian George Benson, while percussion keeps poppin' and horns "sing" the counterpointing chorus.

"Índio Quer Apito," a new tune written for Carnival but rooted in a traditional carioca song from the '60s, honors Brazil's Indian heritage with echoing chants and war cries that shimmer into icy reflections through swirling, electronic dancing sound.

"Our great references are still the music and culture of the sixties through eighties," Marcio allows. "Brazilian music is very rich—it has several rhythmic styles, an abundance of harmonies, and extraordinary musicians. But we will always feel like we need to improve and refresh what has come before." In this way, Bossacucanova has changed the face of Brazilian music for the better, and forever.

Track Listing: Berimbau; Consolação; Meditação; Bye Bye Brasil; Água De Beber; Brasilidade; Essa Moça Tá Diferente; Previsão; Águas De Março; Adeus América; É Preciso Perdoar; Balança (Nao Pode Parar!); Índio Quer Apito; Waldomiro Pena (Dalata Remix).

Personnel: Nema Antunes: bass; José Arimatéia: trumpet; Luiz Avellar: keyboards; Brother Dado: drums, percussion, tambourine; Adriana Calcanhotto: vocals; Os Cariocas: vocals; Oscar Castro-Neves: acoustic guitar; Danilo Caymmi: flute; Sílvio César: vocals; José Alves Da Silva: violin; Cris Delanno: vocals; Laudir DeOliveira: percussion; DJ Dalua: beats, reco-reco, scratching; Glauco Fernandes: violin; Severino Filho: piano; Chris Franck: bass, guitar, keyboards, programming; Pedro Frederico: violin; Leo Gandelman: flute, tenor saxophone; Diogo Gomes: trumpet; Daniel Guedes: violin; Carlos Eduardo Hack: violin; Marcelinho Da Lua: programming, scratching; Pedro Luis: vocals; Altair Martins: trumpet; Pascoal Meirelles: drums; Flavio Mendes: guitar; Thais Mendes: viola; Márcio Menescal; bass, fender jazz bass, guitar, programming; Roberto Menescal: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals; Fernando Merlino: piano; Alex Moreira: fender rhodes, keyboards, hammond organ, piano, programming, sampling; Sidinho Moreira: percussion; Orquestra Criola: vocals; Leo Ortiz: violin; Jesuina Passaroto: viola; Iura Ranevsky: cello; Pantico Rocha: drums; Rene Rossano: guitar; Wanda Sá: vocals; Claudia Grosso Couto Salles: cello; Emilio Santiago: vocals; Marlon Sette: trombone; Wilson Simoninha: vocals; Carl Smith: congas; Marcos Suzano: pandeiro; Tiago Torres: drums; Reginaldo Vargas: percussion.

Title: The Best of Bossacucanova | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Six Degrees Records

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CD/LP/Track Review
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