Dating back to the 1870s, choro is Brazil’s most enduring and lively musical genre. It is the heart and soul of Brazilian music. A dynamic quintet, Rabo de Lagartixa is made up of Daniela Spielmann (saxes), Alessandro Valente (cavaquinho), Marcello Goncalves (7-string guitar), Alexandre Brasil (electric and acoustic bass) and Beto Cazes (percussion). Their latest release is an infectious neo-choro album of original compositions and Brazilian classics by giants Jacob do Bandolim, Waldir Azevedo and Heitor Villa-Lobos, among others. Avoiding the usual single soloist approach, the group’s trademark is one with all instruments sharing equal importance in the vibrant music they play. Their sassy arrangements reveal electrifying tunes. Easily one of the front runners of the neo-choro movement, Rabo de Lagartixa brings Brazil’s living legend Elza Soares (she represented Brazil in London’s BBC Millennium concerts earlier this year) as a guest vocalist in Baden Powell and Vin¡cius de Moraes’ “Formosa.” Her effervescent singing and the ensemble’s jaw-breaking accompaniment are nothing short of outstanding. Other guests include Joao Lyra, Eduardo Neves, Pedro Lu¡s and A. Parede in the ambiguously hilarious “Carrapato.” Closing the album, Spielmann performs a dazzling solo in Jacob do Bandolim’s snappy “Diabinho Maluco.” As with the previous tracks, this number will leave you breathless. Choro is energetic music, and Rabo de Lagartixa is its essence.