Brazilian Nightmares might be a more apt title for this disc. Paquito D'Rivera, not surprisingly, registers some great licks, especially on clarinet, an instrument underrepresented on disc these days. And even in a mess such as this, Claudio Roditi manages a couple of nice solos, and Paulo Braga's drumming is as solid and flowing as ever. But it is impossible to escape the insipid vocal stylings of the New York Voices or the cliched horn arrangements that can be heard on bossa nova records going back as far as the '50s. The music on Brazilian Dreams is predictably "beautiful," with some safely dissonant and hip harmonies, but a home on Kmart's in-house system seems a better place than in the collection of most discerning jazz fans. (By the way: When will musicians discover that Brazil has produced more music than the usual 20 or 30 tunes that keep getting led to the butcher's block?)
D'Rivera would be well-advised to skirt similar projects and, instead, head for Rio, where the style of incendiary playing he manages to display on this live session could be put to good use alongside some of that city's fiery traditional choro and jazz players.