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Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Savoy

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World - Released January 1, 1998 | Mr Bongo

This 1998 release by Brazilian percussion god Dom Um Ramao marks his first solo recording in more than 30 years. Romao has been an in-demand session player since the mid-'60s and was one of the founding members of Weather Report. His own albums on the late, great Muse label, one named eponymously and the other entitled Spirit of the Times, were rhythm orgies that pasted together all of the traditions he'd worked in up until that time: from Sergio Mendes and Sinatra to Flora, Airto, and Weather Report. Rhythm Traveler is a return, of sorts, in that it is an engagement with Brazilian song forms from both folk musics and popular song, all translated through a jazzman's manner of hearing. Romao enlisted the help of some of Brazil's hottest players and singers, including string boss Nelson Angelo, Fabio Fonseco, and the incomparably wonderful Ithamara Koorax on vocals. The track listing is a meld of originals and tunes chosen carefully for the way rhythm interacts with melody, such as Deodato's "Capoeria Chant," Quincy Jones' "Soul Bossa Nova," Wayne Shorter's "Mysterious Traveler," and Carlos Pingarilo's mesmerizing "Samba De Rei." Romao's compositions (he wrote four tunes here, all of them wonderful) center on the various seams of Brazilian music and American jazz. Where the light, breezy samba of Pingarihlo's "De Serra Pro Mar," is driven by a lilting acoustic guitar and flute as a melody frame, Romao layers in a spare, hypnotic bassline and percussion on all the margins of the tune to give it an exotic, captivating effect of being drawn into somewhere delightfully mysterious. Likewise, the steaming opener "Sinistro" is nothing but rhythms from tribal to the present, overlapping and intertwining kick drums and all manner of hand percussion. Ultimately, Rhythm Traveler is as solid as, if not more so than, Romao's earlier efforts and carries within its grooves an accessibility that will attract even novitiate Brazilian fans. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Latin - Released January 22, 2008 | Irma records

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Dance - Released January 25, 2013 | Irma records

First, the disclaimer: Nu Jazz Meets Brazil: The Dom Um Romão Remix isn't really jazz -- certainly not in the true sense of the word. Jazz is about improvisation and spontaneity, which is what Pat Metheny, Scott Henderson, and Al DiMeola have in common with Eddie Lang, Django Reinhardt, and Charlie Christian. It's the thing that Michael Brecker has in common with Ben Webster, Hank Mobley, and Albert Ayler. And it's the reason why Miles Davis' Bitches Brew was every bit as much of a jazz date as Kind of Blue or Birth of the Cool. This CD isn't about improvisation and spontaneity -- it's about production gloss, programmed electronic beats, and dancefloor/club appeal. Nu Jazz Meets Brazil isn't really Brazilian jazz -- certainly not in the way that improvisers like Flora Purim, Stan Getz, Claudio Roditi, Bud Shank, Eliane Elias, and Azymuth have provided Brazilian jazz. It's jazzy electronica with a Brazilian flavor. But that doesn't mean that it's bad; it simply means that it should be judged by electronica standards rather than jazz standards. And from an electronica standpoint, Nu Jazz Meets Brazil is interesting and creative. These days, dance-oriented electronica is being combined with a variety of world music -- depending on the producer or the DJ, electronica can incorporate anything from Indian pop to Afro-Cuban salsa to Irish-Celtic music. And on this compilation, Brazilian songs like Jorge Ben's "Mas Que Nada" and Dom Um Romão's "Lake of Perseverance" are given the electronic treatment by various mixologists. Overall, Nu Jazz Meets Brazil isn't the sort of abrasive electronica that dominates some raves; the disc tends to be hypnotic instead of forceful, and it usually has more trip-hop and acid jazz appeal than techno appeal. This CD is well worth checking out if you're seeking something fresh, enjoyable, and chance-taking from clubland electronica. © Alex Henderson /TiVo