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Chico Cesar portrait Brazilian rocker Chico Cesar was a key figure in the 1990's mangue bit scene, and his records reflect that style's wild, eclectic edges. Here's a quick look at his work...


Chico Cesar "Aos Vivos" (Velas, 1995)
Great live album by one of Brazil's best-beloved manguebeat rock artists. Here, he's on more of an acoustic-based, Dave Matthews-y tip, except that unlike Matthews, he doesn't suck. This fab debut got a lot of airplay, and the charisma and warmth that Cesar exudes goes a long way to explain his continuing popularity, despite the flaws of his more high-tech later releases. Recently reissued domestically in the US.... Recommended!

Chico Cesar "CusCuz Cla" (MZA, 1996)

Chico Cesar "Beleza Mano" (PolyGram/MZA, 1997)
The first few tracks on here are brilliant, and you think to yourself, "hey... alright!!" But on the fifth track, "Onde Estara O Meu Amor," there's this irritating addition of a soprano sax (yikes!), and it's all downhill from there. Even with the wide variety of styles and influences, this album goes from vigor to torpid predicability, and more's the pity. There are plenty of interesting, nuanced ideas... Cesar has a lot of presence, but mostly it's buried in glossy, over-stylized production.

Chico Cesar "Mama Mundi" (MZA, 1999)

Chico Cesar "Chico Cesar" (Putumayo, 2000)
As one of the most important artists in a new generation of Brazilian rockers, Chico Cesar has incorporated a healthy dose of funk into the mix, though sometimes with iffy results. This collection concentrates on more recent recordings, from 1996-97, and largely omits his most challenging and vigorous material in favor of more accessible, soft-pop outings. He does have an impressive stylistic range, though, especially when incorporating more exotic Brazilian folk styles -- his flat-out pop rock orientation is also in some ways refreshing, though after a while guitars that initially seemed brazen begin to suggest Beverley Hills 90120 more than, say, Jimi Hendrix. This disc is a good introduction to his work; if you like what you hear, I recommend you also hunt up some of Cesar's old albums so you can get a fuller picture of his work.

Chico Cesar "Respeitem Meus Cabelos, Brancos" (MZA, 2002)

Chico Cesar "De Uns Tempos Pra Ca" (Biscoito Fino, 2005)

Chico Cesar & Zeze Ribeiro "Brincadeira"

Chico Cesar "Para Menores" (Atracao, 2005)

Chico Cesar "Francisco Forro y Frevo" (EMI, 2008)


Chico Cesar "Millennium" (Polygram, 1998)
A strong best-of covering his work up through 1998... It has its iffy moments, but still definitely worth checking out.

Chico Cesar "Serie Sem Limite" (Universal, 1998)
A 2-CD best-of...


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