Down Beat - p.643 stars out of 5
-- "[T]here's plenty for the listener to dig into here. Longtime arranger Luiz Claudio Ramos sketches out the elaborate harmonies for the repertoire....[Buarque] injects plenty of feeling into the performances."
Personnel: Chico Buarque (vocals, background vocals); Luiz Cl udio Ramos (violin); Marcelo Bernardes (flute, saxophone); Dominguinhos (accordion); Rodrigo de Castro Lopes (piano); Jorge Helder (acoustic bass); Celso Silva (tambourine); Allison Lima, Wilson DasNeves (percussion).
Chico Buarque is something of a hero of the arts in Brazil, where he is a tremendously popular and celebrated singer, songwriter, poet, and playwright, and is generally recognized as one of the formative influences on modern Brazilian pop music. Although he has released 26 albums at home and written more than a dozen film soundtracks, he rarely performs in the U.S., and this appears to be his first North American CD release. It's conceived as a tribute to his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, and consists of exquisitely gentle sambas, bossas, and other jazzy pop compositions, most of them featuring subtle but complex arrangements by his producer and collaborator, Luiz Cl udio Ramos. The sounds are almost all acoustic, though at times they sound electronic -- what sounds charmingly like a cheap Casio keyboard rhythm on "Sub£rbio" is actually a very precisely tapped tambourine, for example. "Outros Sonhos" opens with some startlingly sophisticated and beautiful wind writing, which segues into a soft and regretful lyric. "Dura Na Queda" and "As Atrizes" both swing jazzily, and "Ode Aos Ratos" flirts with rock (and even features a sort of rap interlude). Only "Leve" and "Imagina," both of them just a little bit too melodically thin and rhythmically wimpy, fall short of brilliant. (The package includes a DVD documentary on the making of the album.) Recommended. ~ Rick Anderson
DVD contains the documentary "Desconstrucao" (Deconstruction), directed by Bruno Natal. Languages: Portuguese, English & Spanish.
Also featuring additional material. Total playing time 60 minutes.