Seu Jorge ‘Músicas para churrasco vol. 1’ (Cafuné/Universal Brazil) 4/5

A change of approach from singer-songwriter-actor Seu Jorge and one that definitely works. For this latest album Jorge has engaged in a fruitful songwriting collaboration with Gabriel Moura and together they have come up with arguably Seu Jorge’s most convincing album thus far. The groove is pure samba-funk with a distinctive 1970s nod to the Earth,Wind and Fire brass section, beefed up with additional reedists from L.A. and the orchestrations of Banda Black Rio all into one cohesive whole. The mid-tempo groover ‘Amiga de minha mulher’ with its intoxicating cavaquinho intro is the crème de la crème of a very substantial crop and, with the sensitive use of keyboards, this slightly more laid back style really suits Seu Jorge’s vocal delivery. Possibly just as good, if not better, is the moody and thrilling ‘Dois beijinhos’ with Headhunters style basslines and the use of muted horns. Seu Jorge even plays a quite haunting flute solo towards the end of the number. Of the numerous uptempo pieces ‘Vizinha’ with its cuica drums and the breezy ‘A doida’ typify the new approach. For a change in emphasis the closing song ‘Quem nao quer sou eu’ is quiet storm classic in the making and Jorge should sing more in this vein. This is a release that will appeal as much to fans of quality urban grooves with a timeless feel as it will to world roots devotees. It promises to be one of the most played Brazilian releases of the year. Tim Stenhouse