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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Café & Alegria

Naive NJ 622511



1. Aquelas Coisas Todas
2. Amor Infinito
3. Vertentes
4. Café & Alegria
5. Yuri's Song
6. Meu Canario Vizinho Azul
7. Toninho
8. Pedra da Lua
9. Francisca
10. Belo Horizonte

Manuel Rocheman - Piano
Toninho Horta - Guitars, vocals
Yuri Popoff - Electric bass
Marcio Bahia - Drums, percussion
Chico Amaral - Soprano sax (tracks 2, 9)


France meets Brazil in the form of French pianist Manuel Rocheman and Brazilian guitarist Toninho Horta. They seem to share a love for the understated, and neither of them is given to showboating. The programme consists predominantly of bossa novas, a genre which was born as a more tranquil form of the samba, so this album is mostly restrained and unshowy. This doesn't mean that the protagonists are slouches: they are all masters of their instruments, and all the tunes were composed by members of the group. Drummer Marcio Bahia, in particular, adds immensely to the Latin lilt of the music.

Toninho Horta tends to sing along with the melodies - sometimes wordlessly and at other times with indistinct lyrics in what I take to be Portuguese. He also plays intricate guitar solos. Manuel Rocheman has a clean, delicate touch at the piano, with a fairly economical style not given to impressive runs or punchy phrasing. The result is a quietly pleasurable album which occasionally seems too docile for its own good. Even soprano saxist Chico Amaral is restrained in his two appearances.

But then Toninho Horta says "The music we play in Minas Gerais (south-east of Brazil) is a little different from other regions of Brazil. In our compositions, we concentrate more on the harmonic progressions and use melodies with large intervals". So this album will appeal to anyone who likes music that is light and airy, rather than extrovert and ponderous. A breath of fresh air.

Tony Augarde

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