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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Cyro Baptista

By Stacy Meyn
Published August 21, 2008

Banquet Of The Spirits

Percussionist and vocalist Cyro Baptista sports a cred sheet longer than several arms, having worked with Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon, Laurie Anderson, Yo-Yo Ma, and more, and his current pals are familiar they include keyboardist Brian Marsella (Beat The Donkey), drummer Tim Keiper (Vieux Farka Touré, Beat The Donkey) and bassist Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (John Zorn, Charles Gayle). Longtime buddy and saxophonist Zorn also sits in—as does noted cellist Eric Friedlander and revered Gnawa vocalist Hassan Ben Jaffar—for a Brazilian-based spread that embodies the 1920s Anthropofagia movement (also referred to as “cultural cannibalism”), but Baptista’s “cannibals” alternately nibble and chomp their way through each continent, swallowing, digesting, and regurgitating their way through eight original compositions and three tributes to the late Don Cherry and sitar/tabla master Collin Walcott. Yes, be forewarned: this fare will bubble the brain and juggle the organs—not for the faint of mind, heart, or stomach—but it’s well worth the tab, so just eat it.