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Caetano Veloso: Prenda Minha

One of Brazil’s best-loved modern composers and performers, Caetano Veloso, offers a magical live performance on Prenda Minha (Verve/Blue Thumb VERF-0133-2; 70:12). Captured in a recent concert in Rio de Janeiro, guitarist Veloso and his unusual, expert ensemble (which includes a brass trio, strings and a variety of percussion) execute Chet Bakeresque club ballads, warm acoustic folk textures and frisky, all-out romps with equal skill and verve. Veloso croons with an elastic, emotive tenor that’s romantic in any language, embracing the intimate “Meditacao,” with its thumping heartbeat rhythms and close-jazz, club-brass harmonies, and the jazzy, pathos-laden “Esse Cara,” featuring intertwining vocal, horns and sweeping strings. Veloso’s guitar work also conveys gentle romance on the spindly Gilberto Gil cover, “Ben Devagar,” and the lilting, reassuring “Saudosismo.” Cellist Jacques Morelenbaun is musical director here, leading the band through an amazing range of arrangements, from the sunny, pop-toned “Na Linha do Equador,” which with its rising horns and Brazil-beat percussion sounds like Bacharach-meets-Jobim, to the Caribbean, almost reggae-clipped romping speedster, “A Luz de Tieta.” The Brazilian audience greets each tune with a worshipful roar of rock-star proportions. Check out Prenda Minha for yourself and find out why.

Originally Published