Brazilian Music Recommendations for the Holidays

Singer and keyboardist Eliane Elias’ entrancing style combines Brazilian rhythms with world music, funk, electronica and pop elements. On Around the City, Elias presents some of her own material along with popular music classics such as Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va” and “Bob Marley’s Jamming.”

Lenine is a well known figure in Brazilian music. His captivating style is edgy and current, combining rock, funk, and several forms of Brazilian roots music, including samba. His latest US release, Lenine, is on the Six Degrees label.

The Adventure Music label has been very active lately, releasing quite an impressive collection of contemporary instrumental music from Brazil. Brasilianos by Hamilton de Holanda Quintet features mandolin wizard Hamilton de Holanda on the 10-string mandolin. His acoustic ensemble plays jazzy instrumental pieces based on Brazilian rhythms.

Guitarist Daniel Santiago makes his Adventure Music debut with On the Way. Accompanied by a bassist and drummer, Santiago’s style is peaceable and cinematic, with a jazz rhythmic section. He pays musical tributes several Brazilian musicians, including legendary guitarist Baden Powell, Horta and Guinga.

Another Brazilian guitarist, Mario Adnet, presents the familiar sounds of bossa guitar. On the excellent From the Heart he combines his guitars and vocals with a rich ensemble of sounds, including flute and brass instruments such as trombone, trumpet and flugelhorn; electric guitar, piano and cello.

With a name like Philippe Baden Powell, it is not hard to figure the family connection. Philippe is Baden Powell’s son. Unlike his late father, the also talented Philippe plays keyboards. His style on Estrada de Terra is primarily adventurous contemporary jazz, sometimes going in an electric direction, other times drifting into a delightful meditative path.

As the name implies, the live recording Winds of Brazil (Um sopro de Brasil) is dedicated to wind instruments. Navigating blurry waters between classical, jazz and Brazilian folk music, Winds of Brazil showcases some of the top wind-instrument musicians in Brazil. Harmonica, flutes, trumpet, and saxophones are elegantly combined with a chamber ensemble featuring cello, acoustic bass, strings, piano, violins, guitar, cavaquinho, and percussion.

Virtuoso trombonist Vittor Santos plays a delightful mix of bossa nova and jazz on Renewed Impressions, his latest CD and his first solo work in nearly 10 years.

Back to guitarists with Marcos Amorim and his new CD, Sete Capelas (Seven Chapels). The project features Amorim on electric guitar, Robettinho Silva on drums and percussion, Ney Conceicao on bass, and guest flutist Nivaldo Ornelas. Amorim’s Brazilian jazz style easily switches from electric to acoustic. His music includes bossa nova, Latin and even Pat Metheny influences.