Gilles Peterson: Back in Brazil

Gilles Peterson Back In Brazil pairs a disc of old-school classics from the ‘60s and ‘70s (Das Velhas) with a second (Novas) of new cuts that reveal the hip-hop and reggaeton's influence. Sweetened with jazzy horns, flutes, and grooving bass lines, soulful sambas, light fusion, and funky bossa novas by Jorge Ben, Sergio Ricardo, Trio Mocoto, and Dom Salvador swing joyfully on disc one. The history lesson's over quickly, though, with the influential DJ squeezing 14 songs into 37 minutes.

It's tempting to regard Das Velhas as the appetizer, given that Novas is almost twice its length. Even so, the two 'halves' hardly sound unrelated; if anything, listeners new to the sound may be surprised to discover just how much disc one's traditional sound infuses part two. If Azymuth's “Roda Pião” flirts a little too much with fusion, it's certainly easy to surrender to the smooth grooves of S Tone Inc's “Beira Do mar.” The disc also includes Echo Soundsystem's ragged stab at reggae (“Calma Mamma (GP Mix)”), Brazilian hip-hop by Rappin Hood (“Ze Brasilereiro”), Bugz In The Attic riffing on Parliament-Funkadelic (“Sounds Like”), Drumagick's jazz-inflected take on drum & bass (“Baby”), and a piano-driven vignette by the late Jaydee (“Ritmo Suave Bossa Nova”) that's frankly unmemorable. Ultimately, disc two offers an interesting and diverse smorgasbord but one that disappoints for its modicum of great moments. Taken as a whole, however, Gilles Peterson Back In Brazil definitely offers a comprehensive genre overview.

August 2006