Brazilian Beats 7 from the UK’s Mr. Bongo Records is out in another week or so, but is available for streaming on the Mr. Bongo website and Soundcloud page right now. Lots of bangers on this one, so catch the sneak-peak while you can.
Offering number 7 opens with Karol Conka’s “Boa Noite”, a truly Brazilian reinvention of the Lil Wayne smash “A Milli”, only Conka’s take is way catchier that Weezy’s, thanks to the wise selection of a killer chant sample underpinning the chorus. Bemba Trio’s up next with a sleek, frictionless track called, “Melô do vatapá”. The trio should be celebrated for the sheer economy with which they make this song work- there’s little more to this one than a small handful of percussion, a few tasty horns, and some solid electric bass, but to say that it still manages to function would be an understatement.
The party train that is the opening of this record keeps pushing on with outstanding tracks from Som Sete, Claudia and her amazingly powerful voice, and the steady, polished machinations of a Djavan track that hints at the coming dance revolution of the early ‘80s still a few years off.
Elsewhere, offerings from Coaty de Olivieira, Arnaud Rodrigues, & Zapatta provide both a satisfying listen and a valuable insight into some of the less well publicized gems of late 60s and 70s Brazilian music. However, once the first third of this compilation plays out, Brazilian Beats 7 is largely out of surprises and fresh sounds. The compelling introduction melts into yet another examination of an era in Brazilian music already plenty examined (which is, of course, not to knock the quality of any of the individual selections, all of which are above average at the least). But, after the first two or three tracks, the furthest that this compilation strays from 1979 is an expertly-executed cover of Jorge Ben’s “Oba, Lá Vem Ela” by Junip, and the original Ben recording of that song was released in 1995. This wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the inclusion of that pack of contemporary cuts, which are some of the most interesting items of the collection. They just happen to also set the listener up for a little confusion and, later, a bit of fatigue.
Then again, these could just be champagne problems. If a five-course meal from a three-star restaurant is served out of order, it still tastes great, right?