Gilberto Gil wears many hats, most notably as an international warrior for environmental causes and civil rights. But above all, he is a Brazilian superstar, somewhat comparable to a musically sophisticated Bob Dylan. The sound quality of Gilberto Gil's Quanta Live, which was recorded at Rio de Janeiro's Teatro Jo o Caetano last year, is as exciting as his material. The veteran of a successful 30-year career in music, the music on the live album is culled primarily from the studio recorded Quanta, a survey of Gil's work over the three decades.
Gil played a central role in "Tropicalia," the highly danceable and socially conscious post-bossa Brazilian cultural phenomenon. Backed here by a seven-man groove machine, one can understand his immense international popularity. His work is a fusion of samba, funk, and many international pop styles. Included are cover versions of Bob Marley's "Is This Love?" and "Stir It Up." that should be the envy of any "tribute" band. Ever the socially conscious songwriter, he includes "Pela Internet" ("For the Internet,") which ends in a parody of the Rolling Stones, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction," as a rap about trying to connect to someone online. Too bad Atlantic/Mesa neglected to include translations of the Portuguese lyrics in the otherwise slick packaging, as Gil has far more to say than most pop artists.