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Vinicius Cantuária : Indio de Apartemento

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Vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and composer Vinicius Cantuária began his career as a Rio rocker and, after moving to New York in the 1990s, became a pioneer of the neo-Brazilian movement and a stalwart of the downtown jazz scene. More recently, the 62-year-old has emerged as the heir apparent to Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Like Jobim, he gains maximum emotional mileage from a rather slim, dusty voice, though his stylistic suavity more closely resembles that of Charles Aznavour. As a songwriter, author or co-author of nine of the album’s 10 tracks, he echoes Jobim’s subtle elegance. A master of brevity-this entire disc spans just 30 minutes-Cantuária specializes in tiny, perfect jewels like the shimmering “Um Dia,” featuring guest keyboardist Olivier Glissant, and the silken “Quem Sou Eu,” with Norah Jones on piano.

Cantuária travels solo on four selections, layering vocals atop his own guitar, keyboard, drum and percussion work, the cumulative effect reaching its apex on the vibrantly playful title track. Multitalented Japanese artist, actor and activist Ryuichi Sakamoto visits twice, adding enticingly discordant chords and haunted codas to both “Moça Feia” and “Acorda.” Bill Frisell, Cantuária’s co-leader on 2011’s spellbinding Lágrimas Mexicanas, is on hand for three tracks, most notably the album’s only piece in English, “This Time,” with Cantuária and vocalist Jesse Harris blending seamlessly on the wistful lyric.

Originally Published