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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

Djavan

By Ernest Barteldes
Published August 21, 2008

Matizes
Luanda Music

Djavan continues to explore the nuances of Brazilian music, tastefully blending them with various influences without losing touch with his roots in Alagoas, which lies squeezed between the neighboring states of Pernambuco and Bahia. On the ballad “Louça Fina,” he drops intricate verses around an arrangement that borrows subtly from Afro-Cuban styles, while on the bluesy “Imposto,” he rears up against the various taxes imposed in Brazil and the lack of services provided in return for all the money. In a clever wordplay that only works in Portuguese, he calls the tax collector an “impostor,” while insisting that the nation’s Congress should do away with their notorious secret ballots. “Joaninha” has a complex musical structure that smacks of Milton Nascimento’s best work in the ’80s, while “Adorava Me Ver Como Seu” contains elements of modern jazz-funk fusion. With Matizes, Djavan demonstrates that after years of prolific songwriting, he can still return from the well with plenty of musical gifts from an ever-adaptable muse.