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coverpic flag Brazil - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 14 - 12/14/97

Ney Matogrosso
O Cair Da Tarde
Mercury PolyGram

I think I would definitely stay ahead if I did not say anything about this release. However, that would not be fair to you. Suffice it to say that whatever I write here will not do justice to Ney Matogrosso's O Cair Da Tarde.

This CD brings together two of Brazil's greatest composers: Heitor Villa-Lobos and Antônio Carlos Jobim (a.k.a. Tom Jobim). Ney Matogrosso's decision to combine their music in one release is rather obvious as Tom Jobim himself said:

"Villa-Lobos is like my father, my everything. I feel like including one of Villa-Lobos' song in my album. It's more than a homage, it's to make the album more beautiful. To make me feel that there was someone who liked music more than I do."

With O Cair Da Tarde, Ney Matogrosso shows different depths of that influence. The best way to experience this phenomenon is to play the CD and listen intently to every note, every sigh.

In addition to Ney's voice, the instrumental accompaniment is absolutely perfect. Leandro Braga plays the piano and did all the arrangements. His artistry will blow you away. You will feel this is as much his album as Ney's. To add more to an already perfect combination, Ricardo Silveira brings his guitar playing to these tracks. He is in better form than ever before. Another favorite of mine, Márico Montarroyos lavishes these recordings with his flugelhorn. He is capable of producing a sound that enhances the musical ambience of these songs. To top it all, Uakti creates the rain forest and special sounds evoked so often in Villa-Lobos compositions. It is hard to imagine this album without Uakti.

Cair Da Tarde (Dusk) and Modinha (Song) open this release. Two songs, two eras, one majestic piece with hardly any noticeable transition between tracks. The proposal to create an impeccable release is clearly stamped with these opening tracks. When Zé Nogueira's soprano sax plays the introduction for Tema De Amor De Gabriela (Love Theme of "Gabriela"), there's a certain languor that sets the tone to Ney's tender phrasing. Melodia Sentimental (Sentimental Melody) has a light drumming crescendo after its slow and peaceful beginning. As the loved one is awakened by this love poem, the music reaches its highest point. Canção em Modo Menor (Song in a Minor Mode) serves as an introduction to Prelúdio No. 3 (Prelude No. 3). While the former talks about sad mornings without the loved one, the latter uses a bird as a messenger to the loved one. Uakti's sound effects are ethereal. Though Caicó received its definitive performance in Mílton Nascimento's voice, Ney's performance is not ordinary. With Cirandas (Children's Songs), Uakti reigns again. The interplay between voice and instruments is exactly like children playing. These are songs all Brazilians grew up singing. The feeling in this arrangement is innocent and pure. From the playful mood of Cirandas, we move into a more up-tempo Trenzinho Do Caipira (Countryman's Little Train). The instrumentation, especially piano and percussion, is astounding. There's no sluggishness, but only a vibrant and bold machine. Without letting the tempo down, the last two songs close this magnificent CD. Águas De Março (Waters of March) is more samba-like, whereas Pato Preto (Black Duck) receives forró rhythms after Leandro Braga's Linus-and-Lucy-ish piano introduction.

Ney Matogrosso outdid himself with his creative mind for this release. This is undeniably one of the best releases this year, probably the best.

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