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Rio Paris

Notes & Reviews:

A major attraction of soccer's World Cup, and some would say the very best thing about it, is the musical component, with genre-crossing all-star vocal collaborations the norm. Who can forget Barcelona's unexpected and absolutely stunning duets between Montserrat Caballé and Freddie Mercury? This album may be the first in a flood of releases connected with the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and if the games result in a new appreciation of Brazilian music they will have been well worth it from a musical standpoint. Brazilian music crosses over among classical, pop, and jazz without giving very much thought to the dividing lines, and the mix here touches on some of the major figures from each corner. The three singers and one guitarist are not Brazilian: singers Natalie Dessay and Agnès Jaoui are French; singer Helena Noguerra is Portuguese-Belgian; and guitarist Liat Cohen is French-Israeli. Some of the music is sung in Portuguese, some in French, but even in a French translation Dessay does not sound especially comfortable in Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Waters of March" (here, "Les Eaux de Mars"). Hearing her in Villa-Lobos, however, is an unexpected pleasure. Jaoui and Noguerra, both actresses as well as singers, have a reasonable feel for the material, although one wonders whether a Brazilian singer might not profitably have been included. Perhaps the album's best feature is Erato's studio engineering; the dimensions of the sound are ideal for the music, and the guitar is impressively well recorded. A reasonably satisfying souvenir of the World Cup. ~ James Manheim


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