Brazilian Album Reviews

This is Page 4 of a listing of miscellaneous artists under the letter "C"

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Celeste "Cinco E Triste Da Manha" (Tapecar, 1978) (LP)
A competent, though unenthralling, version of the dominant MPB sound of the mid-1970s... Originally from Bahia, Celeste Vanuchi had a nice enough voice, and sounds like a fair approximation of Gal Costa. What this album lacks, however, is the radical spark that set MPB's pioneers apart from their imitators. This disc is noteworthy, however, for the inclusion of several songs by an up-and-coming composer named Djavan, who at the time was barely on the radar. This is probably one of the first records to feature cover versions of his work. Again, it's nice enough, and not in any way an unpleasant record... I'm not sure there's anything here I need to come back to, though...

Celeste "Laco De Cobra" (Odeon, 1979)
(Produced by Renato Correa & Geraldo Vespar) (LP)

Thick, jazzy MPB arrangements drape around Celeste's husky vocals which, again, can charitably be compared to Gal Costa... Mostly, though, it's a little difficult to listen to: the music is too glossy and fusion-y for my tastes, while her vocals are kind of rough and grating... and when the two extremes meet, they create a sense of pure melodrama and bombast. This album's a rarity, but it's not really my cup of tea. Some one more devoted to slick, syrupy '70s MPB might really dig it, though.

Celeste "Celeste" (Selo Pentegrama, 1983)

Geisa Celeste "Coleros" (Tropicana, 1973)

Vicente Celestino - see artist discography

Celia "Celia" (Continental, 1971)
A fascinating album by a slightly subpar singer... Celia was one of the "festival" singers of the early 1970s who made her debut on television shows and in live, competitive festival performances. Her debut album features a wealth of talent as well as a very strong, very contemporary repertoire. Songs by up-and-coming composers such as Nelson Angelo, Ivan Lins, Joyce and Lo Borges are framed by the unmistakable kaleidoscopic pop of arranger Rogerio Duprat. It's a funny record, though: Celia's performances on the first third of the album are often pretty awkward -- bad, even. But as the record drifts into more of a psychedelic rock mode, she seems to relax a bit and on the final tracks, she's quite appealing... Maybe she just got more comfortable in the studio as the sessions went on? Anyway, there's some stuff on here that's good, some that's a bit wobbly, even a little embarrassing, like the faux-orgasmic "Blues," which opens the album on an unfortunate, burlesque-flavored note. The psychedelic/tropicalia elements include electric guitar by cult fave Arthur Verocai, who is also credited as an arranger, along with Duprat and Jose Briamonte. Certainly worth checking out!

Celia "Celia" (Continental, 1972)
Hey, look: she recorded another album with Arthur Verocai, this time with him as the main conductor/arranger. Anyone out there know more about Celia? It looks like she had a few other albums, but it's hard to say for sure. Also, anyone know what her full name was?

Cerebro Eletronico "Pareco Moderno" (Tratore-Phonobase, 2008)
Electro-tinged, folky indie rock... Fairly amorphous and spacy; didn't really grab my imagination, but it sounded mellow and easy on the ears...

Chico Cesar - see artist discography

Silvio Cesar - see artist discography

CeU "CeU" (Six Degrees/Urban Jungle, 2006)
Fluid, honeyed samba-synth-soul, in the same tradition as other Six Degrees Brazilian crossover divas such as Bebel Gilberto and Cibelle. Originally released on a Brazilian indie label, Urban Jungle, this is a smooth set of modern pop-electronica, impressively packed with over a dozen original compositions, and just two cover tunes, one by Joao Bosco and one by reggae legend Bob Marley. Hailing from Sao Paulo, CeU ably represents the unrepentant pop sentiments of the city's musical scene, and while few of these tracks stand out as the kind of song that will get stuck in your head all day long, the album itself is quite lovely, a disc that you can leave in the stereo for weeks on end and never tire of... Definitely worth checking out. (Note: if you like this album , you should also check out her work with the experimental pop ensemble, Sonidos.)

CeU "CeU Remixed" (EP) (Six Degrees, 2007)
(Originally produced by Beto Villares & CeU. And then, y'know... remixed.)

A nice remix set by Brazilian pop-tronica singer CeU, who hails from Sao Paulo and gathers many of that rock-oriented big city's finest young performers into her crew. Some of you may have noted that I am not the world's biggest fan of or expert in clubby dance music and electronica, nor am I generally all that into remix projects -- most times, I think the artists probably got it right the first time. That being said, this EP (which is commercially available only as an electronic download) has a nice feel... Several dubby tracks take remixing back to its reggae roots, and CeU's vocals, drifting atop and in between whatever soundscapes her producers concoct, carry you along in a variety of settings. Her debut album, where these songs originally appeared, has a stronger, more cohesive pop edge, but this is a nice chill-out disc. Worth checking out.

CeU "Vagarosa" (Six Degrees, 2009)
(Produced by Beto Villares, Gustavo Lenzo, Gui Amabis & Ceu)

Wow. This one's a doozy. I've been getting more and more tapped into CeU, particularly in her role as the "face" of the newly invigorated Sao Paulo pop scene. Not only is she pals with some of the most creative young musicians in Brazil, but she's a singularly appealing vocalist in her own right; her tone is pleasant, and her phrasing is decisive and strong. This record floored me, though. Indeed, I had trouble getting past the second track, "Cangote": it took me almost a week to quit hitting the rewind button, because I kept getting tingles each time I heard it. It's a rich, fresh mix of styles, a heavy dub reggae, mixed with Brazilian harmonics and some tweaky melodic elements, particularly some Arabic-flavored lead organ and mellotron riffs that bring to mind the Ethiopian groove of Mahmoud Ahmed. It's such a cool song. So totally cool. The track that follows, "Comadi," also shows a strong familiarity with the best classic Jamaican dub, although this time with a ska-like uptempo vibe. Maybe Sly & Robbie never got to cut a session with Gal Costa back in the day, but if they had, it might have been this good. Anyway, a whole album in this reggae stylee would have been fine by me, but the tracks that followed were equally rich and rewarding, blending samba, jazz, bossa nova, indie rock and more dub in an entirely satisfying, confident mix. Along for the ride are Sao Paulo scenesters such as Gui Amabis, Curumin and Beto Villares, as well as a number of guest performers, including old-time soul star Luiz Melodia, who is surprisingly good in his duet cameo. Although there's still some of the sexy, mellow electronica cool of CeU's labelmate Bebel Gilberto in the mix, these guys have gone way past the chill-room club mix mentality, and they're making some of the most adventurous yet sensuous music modern music coming out of Brazil today. I think you'll really like this record.

CeU "Caravana Sereia Bloom" (Six Degrees, 2012)

Ceu Da Boca "Serie Millennium" (Universal, 2002)
A best-of collection featuring tracks off the albums Ceu Da Boca (1981) and Baratotal (1982), originally released on the Polygram label. Features choral versions of songs by Gilberto Gil, Lula Queiroga, Luiz Eca, and others.

Ceu Da Boca "A Arte De" (Universal, 2002)

Ceu Da Boca "Ceu Da Boca" (Philips, 1981) (LP)

Ceu Da Boca "Baratotal" (Philips, 1981) (LP)

Chapeu De Palha "Flor Amorosa"

Chapeu De Palha "Choro, Samba E Gafieira" (Radio MEC/Rob Digital, 2003)

Charlie Brown, Jr. - see artist discography

Erlon Chaves - see artist discography

Gilvan Chaves "10 Polegadas" (Mocambo, 1956)

Gilvan Chaves "Encantos Do Nordeste" (Columbia, 1958)

Juca Chaves "As Duas Faces De Juca Chaves" (RGE, 1960)
Humorist Jucas Chaves, originally known for his written satire, uses an archaic, stripped down musical style, the modinha, to deliver his wry asides. It's an entertaining, unusual sound, but if you listen to an entire album, it all starts to sound the same. Chaves was hardly a great singer, and he plays this up to maximize the comedic effect... Which is all very well and fine, but you have to keep in mind that this album is more about word play than it is about music. An interesting cultural curio, though!

Luiz Chaves E Seu Conjunto "Projecao" (RGE, 1963)
Swank, nightclubby big band versions of recently-minted bossa nova standards, with bassist Luiz Chaves and pianist Hamilton (Amilton) Godoy, of the Zimbo Trio. This is well-performed, though unoriginal -- still, it's a good example of how high-class Ellingtonian jazz motifs filtered into the Brazilian scene. Like Ellington, Chaves straddled the classical, jazz and pop worlds, although modern listeners may find his approach little more than competent and professional. The tinkly piano work by Hamilton Godoy is the most distracting element, otherwise this has some nice moments, in a "Harlem Nocturne" kinda way; Chaves and Godoy went on to co-found the long-lived Zimbo Trio.

Chiclete Com Banana - see artist discography

China "Um So" (EMI-Cardume, 2006)
A 6-song EP of contemporary rock, some of it playfully punky, some of it tempered by Brazilian bossa, and some of it kind of mellow and Calexico-ish. Worth checking out.

Maquinhos China/Various Artists "RODA DE SAMBA DE PARTIDO ALTO" (Cedro Rosa, 2009)
(Produced by Virginia Carvalho)

Four younger artists -- backed by a cast of thousands -- recreate the funky, joyful vibe of the classic "partido de alto" albums of the roots-samba revival of the 1960s and '70s. Led by percussion and cavaquinho, singers Maquinhos China, Renatinho Partideiro, Serginho Procopio and Tiago Mocoto move jovially through a set of songs that recall the heyday of bands such as Os Originais do Samba, with surprisingly little in the way of modern, contemporary musical ornamentation. If you like the old style sound, you might really enjoy this loose, funky album.

Chiquinho Do Acordeon - see artist discography

Chocolate Da Bahia "Chocolate Da Bahia" (Som Livre, 1977)

Chocolate Da Bahia "Barraca Do Chocolate" (Som Livre, 1977) (LP)

Os Choroes "Chorinhos Da Pesada" (Serie Choro -- Grandes Solistas) (Odeon, 1971)
A disappointing set of modernized choro music, churned out and given a glitzy, slightly Vegas-y, big-bandish sheen. This jazz/gafieira supergroup included flautist Altamiro Carrilho, trombonist Raul De Barros, clarinetist Abel Ferreira, pianist (and grise eminence) Radames Gnattali and others... Lots of instrumental talent, but the tone of the album is a too brisk and prefab, a bit too controlled. Didn't work for me, at least.

Choronas "Atraente" (Paulus, 2005)

Choronas "Convida" (Paulus, 2005)

Choronas "O Brasil Toca Choro" (Tratore, 2008)

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