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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Seu Jorge

Live at Montreux 2005

Review by Gary Hill

While this disc probably won't be for everyone, those looking for a great slice of world music that cuts across borders should check it out. While all the lyrics are in Portuguese, it doesn't really matter. The songs are that good. Music of this sort can often by monolithic, but Jorge changes things up and masters enough different styles to make it interesting all the way through. More often than not the sounds border between folk and jazz, but you can hear plenty of other elements here, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Mania de Peitão
Bouncy and fun, this little number is quite a great lead off. The world music themes here border on reggae, but have more of a traditional tribal texture mixed with Latin sounds. The jam late in the track is killer.
Tive Razão
Not so frantic, this song has folky sorts of sounds in the mix. It's another great number and has a bit more potent vocal arrangement. While the lyrics are in Portuguese, you still might find yourself trying to sing along even if you don't speak the language. This has a great groove to it and feels a little like vintage R & B in some ways.
Fiori de La Cittá
More laid back, this is based on acoustic guitar elements that remind me a bit of George Benson. It's essentially a pretty, jazzy ballad.
Sáo Gonça
Another that starts off in acoustic ways, this has a blend of jazz and folk in its textures. It's beautiful and intricate. While it is another ballad, this is much slower and sounds entirely different than the track that came before it.
Una Mujer
This one is another slower cut and is packed with emotion, even without understanding the lyrics.
Te Queria
Still acoustic based, we're back into faster moving territory on this cut. Latin rhythms merge with an almost folk rock song to create a groove that will have you up off your seat in no time. The backing vocals on this are especially effective and the bass line is impeccable.
Cirander
Another quick paced number, this one has more of a jazz texture to its musical themes. It's another that features some great vocal arrangements.
Conqueiro Verde
A bouncy, folk sort of arrangement makes up this great cut. The crowd sings along on this, showing just how catchy it is. The band seem inspired by this, and it becomes an exceptionally invigorated and powerful performance. This is one of the highlights of the disc.
Depois Que O Ilê Passar
This has a funky texture and reminds me of a cross between the Latin themes and vintage R & B. It's another standout on this strong disc.
Percussion Solo
OK, I have to be the one to say it. There are way too many drum solos in music. I think I've only ever heard one that I liked, and this ain't it. While I know there are people out there who enjoy them, and the bongos and other instrumentation make this one special, I really don't see the point in ending the CD with it.
 
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