Various ‘Far Out Presents Friends from Rio Project 2014’ (Far Out) 3/5

Friends-From-Rio-2014An interesting project from the UK’s specialist Brazilian label in new and old music that makes sense and does precisely what it says on the tin. Bring together some of the top session musicians, record the music in a variety of genres to reflect the diversity of Brazilian music, and into the bargain give proceedings a funkier edge with the production talents of one Daniel Maunick. If the results are not overly spectacular, they are nonetheless solid and hint towards an early 1980s musical sensibility. This is illustrated on the instrumental ‘Anthemia’ which has a jazz-funk feel à la Azymuth from their Milestone albums period and the syndrums and horns conjur up the 1980s to perfection while ‘Aguai’ has a cuica drum intro and sensitive keyboards that once again hark back to thirty-something years ago. Multi-percussionist Robertinho Silva is on hand and excels on ‘Batucada Bidu’ on which he is the featured musician and this is certainly an authentic samba guaranteed to liven up any day. More contemporary beats are covered on ‘Vam’ Bora’ with vocals by Sabrina Malheiros and this could be described as a subtle electro-bossa tune that is ideal for some dancefloor action and also features a lovely flute solo. Equally impressive are the wordless scat vocals from Denise Pinaud on ‘Veneno’ with a fender-led intro. Not everything works quite as well. A somewhat tame rendition of ‘Mas que nada’ would have been better left in the studio and the vocals on ‘Garota’ are slightly below par. Otherwise, this is very much a modern day take on the Brazilian sound with hints of the past and no better an example can be found on ‘Só nesta a porta se abrio’ with vocals from Carlos Dafé and a terrific instrumental breakdown.

Tim Stenhouse