Thursday, August 5, 2010

Seu Jorge rocks Miami, Orlando & Chicago

This has to be the best concert(s) I have attended all year. Seu Jorge, the talented actor/musician from the Belford Roxo district in Rio de Janeiro, is on tour. His latest release is a team effort with colleagues percussionist Pupillo, guitarist Lucio Maia of Nação Zumbi, and bass player Antonio Pinto. The results are incredible. The result is the self-titled LP "Seu Jorge and Almaz", with covers of some Brazilian classics as well as some totally unexpected U.S. and European sounds.

Not only does his reworking of the Brazilians standards blow me away, but I found his tweaking of Kraftwerk's "The Model" to be amazing: it is no mean feat to take the prog-synth group's alienated, stark love song and turn it into a sticky dub reggae excursion. As for his cover of Roy Ayre's "Everybody Loves The Sunshine", it felt like an homage to an African-American standard from across the Diaspora, filtered through a different type of black lens. And MJ's "Rock With You" is not meant to be a straight cover - in my opinion - but instead a softer take on the tune, revealing more subtle textures than in the original, where Quincy Jones and Michael make the tune as lush as a velvet sofa. His ominous version of "Cirandar" totally changes the way you hear the original - which, I admit, I only did after hearing his version. "Pai Joao" becomes an almost arena-sized samba with a sing-along chorus reminiscent of old Two-Tone sing alongs and British pub rock. And Jorge Ben's "Errare Humanum Est" has quickly become my favorite track, with its expansive echo and touches of psychedelia. And these are only the tunes I have the space to write about here!

I had the good fortune to see him in both Orlando and Chicago in the last week thanks to work travel and all I can say is: If you can't get out to one of the remaining tour dates...Buy this CD!

To see the crew in action, click HERE

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