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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

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Grupo Batuque
O Tempo Do Samba
Farout


By Ernest Barteldes

Published September 23, 2005

As a member of Azymuth, percussionist Ivan Conti has taken the samba of his native Brazil to different heights by incorporating elements of electronic music and Eurojazz.  With Grupo Batuque, he takes a step back and takes the sound closer to its original roots, aided by vocalists Fabiola and Claudemir da Silva, percussionist Cidinho Moreira and others. The jazz elements are not totally lost, as can be heard on “Afro Black,” a mostly instrumental track that features Brazilian jazzman Leo Gandelman on flute and horn arrangements, and “Ida e Volta,” a Conti composition that features percussive elements as a backdrop to Nico Resende’s keyboard wizardry. The best moments of the album, however, are the simplest ones, such as “Nação Tupi”(Tupi Nation), a straight samba about how the racial mix that composes Brazil only makes the nation’s country stronger, and “Batucada Mineira”(Batucada from Minas), which pays tribute to the importance of samba to their music. The only weak moments are the “O Tempo do Samba” vignettes that feature an annoying alarm clock as basis for their beat.

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