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Banda Black Rio portrait Banda Black Rio are often cited as key players in Brazil's 1970's soul scene but I have to confess, they leave me cold. Too disco for me. However, there's no shortage of folks who disagree with my grouchy assessment... You might want to check them out for yourself...


Banda Black Rio "Best Of Banda Black Rio" (Universal Sound, 1996)
Tight, formulaic disco-funk from the late-'70s. Banda Black Rio are one of the best-known Brazilian soul bands from the 1970s, but this retrospective disc doesn't do much for me. There's an vague undercurrent of samba, curling around the edges, but mainly this has more to do with James Brown and Earth, Wind & Fire than it does with the hometown Brazilian vibe. I can see the appeal that this mostly-instrumental album might have for a '70s kitsch fan, but it didn't float my boat... This collection draws all but one track from their first two LPs, and is deceptively tilted towards hyperactive disco tunes. For a more easy-going, more soulful version of their sound, check out their 1980 album, Saci Perere.

Banda Black Rio "Maria Fumaca" (WEA-Atlantic, 1977)

Banda Black Rio "Gafiera Universal" (RCA, 1978)

Banda Black Rio "Saci Perere" (BMG, 1980)
For a break from the hyperactive disco monotony of their first two albums, try this one. It's a softer, more soulful sound... wa-a-a-a-a-a-ay into the sleek horn arrangements and falsetto vocals of Earth, Wind and Fire. Sure, it's silly, but it's more interesting than the jittery, rigid material of their earlier work. Maurice White would've been proud. This also has a more pronounced samba feel to it than the stuff on the Best Of collection above. Still not my cup of tea, but it does have its moments.

Banda Black Rio "Movimento" (Regata, 2001)

Banda Black Rio "Rebirth" (2003)


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