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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Brazil All-Stars

By MICHAEL COWAN
Published March 3, 2006

Rio Strut
Milestone

One of the wonders of Brazilian music is its richness and diversity—so many styles, genres and sub-genres. Bossa nova is without a doubt the best known outside of Brazil. Samba, Tropicalia and MPB also have huge followings. One of the lesser known strands in the Brazilian scene is Brazilian Jazz—it may not have the universal appeal of some of its better known cousins, but for those who are drawn to jazz, it’s sure to please. For others, it may seem just a step away from elevator music. Rio Strut, by the Brazil All-Stars, has indeed assembled some of the top names in Brazilian Jazz—folks like Thiago de Mello, Deodato, Claudio Roditi, Joao Donato and Dom Um Romao. Perhaps the most familiar song on the collection is the Jorge Ben classic “Mas Que Nada,” given a rousing rendition here by the up-and-coming jazz vocalist Ithamara Koorax. Another standout is the disc’s opening track, “Macumba Chant,” by Tiago de Mello with Claudio Roditi. For those drawn toward this part of the Brazilian spectrum, Rio Strut offers a fine sampling of some of the most important names working this territory these days.