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Various Artists: Brasil 70: After Tropicalia

Various Artists: Brasil 70: After Tropicalia

Label:Soul Jazz
Release Date:2007

By Michaelangelo Matos | Posted 12/5/2007

Pop fans today look to the early '70s as a golden age, a viewpoint that contrasts sharply with the critical rumblings of the time. The '60s had ended, and a now-what? feel pervaded the period. That's just in the U.S. and U.K.; in Brazil things were far worse. By the end of 1968, it had become a police state, and pop music fell under its jurisdiction, with leading lights Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil arrested and exiled to London for apparent subversion. So celebrate the fact that there's any life to be heard at all on Brasil 70: After Tropicalia, Soul Jazz's follow-up to last year's brilliant Tropicalia compilation. And take it as an explanation of why Brasil 70 doesn't reach as many heights as its predecessor.

Which isn't to say there aren't any. The Allmans and the Dead would have given up a year's supply of Mexicali's finest for a groove as hot as Novos Baianos' "Tinindo Trincando." Gal Costa's horn-driven "Pontos de Luz," from 1973, is feather-light and funky as dirt; miraculously, neither aspect cancels out the other. Veloso checks in with a minute-and-a-half percussion-and-chant doodad from 1975 that, nevertheless, contains as much sonic bite-and is as memorable-as anything here. If the lesser stuff is overly proggy, as with Baianos' "America Tropical," or state-of-the-art mainstream rock (ex-Os Mutantes singer Rita Lee's "Corista de Rock," from 1976), it's at least an interesting mirror of the times. But best of all are the pair of tracks from Gil; in truth, if you want a more illuminating snapshot of Brazil after Tropicalia, nearly all of his early-'70s albums are worth owning.

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