Marking his 60th birthday, Wrasse Records put together a compilation of Chico Buarque's best works in early 2004. The theme throughout the album is top-notch MPB, but with a definite leaning toward the classic forms of samba and the like that influenced Buarque. Most of the high points of his long recording career are present here, from his debut single (both sides) "Pedro Pedreiro" and "Sonho de Um Carnaval" to some of his most recent works. A piece from the controversial (and martial law-inducing) Roda Viva play is included, as is his early MPB Festival winner (with Nara Leao), "A Banda." A small gap is introduced in the time line during his self-imposed exile to Italy, but the music continues post-return with simply enjoyable songs as well as such anti-establishment works as "Apesar de Vocˆ." Fans of MPB will surely be excited by the compilation (though there are certainly other Chico Buarque compilations to be had), thanks to its ability to span his career pretty well. Fans of samba should be similarly pleased, given his propensity to lean in that direction and the sheer songcrafting ability that he displays in all his works. Buarque is one of the greatest figures in Brazilian music in the last 40 years (and arguably the greatest), and this album gives him due credit. Certainly worth a few rounds of listening. ~ Adam Greenberg
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