Call it cross-fertilization. Bau comes from Cape Verde, from a district called "Little Brazil." As he spins dexterous lines on several guitars, the backgrounds keep changing: you could hear choros, montunos, organ funk, or smooth jazz complete with wispy soprano. By turns flashy and sedate, the disc may be overly slick for some tastes, but its highlights are passionate, and a pleasant journey for the ears.
Bau plucks his notes strong, for bell-like tones; he's also fond of hyperactive strums on the four-string cavaquinho. "Nova Aurora" moves gracefully, sad notes atop a firm rhythm. Synths whistle through many tunes, at times making it hard to hear the guitar. "Luanda" is fun: Bau's guitar struts like a harpsichord, while Totinho blows steam from a soprano sax that's gentle yet tough and then from a tenor that has the tangy rich tone of someone like Ben Webster.
The best tracks drop the gimmicks and give you guitar: "Filosofia" is deep, a twirling beauty with some drums behind it. Keyboards would distract, and anything else would be unnecessary; it's all mood. In a way it recalls Charlie Byrd; the themes are simple but stated with eloquence. It is also true of "Vibracoes"; a tiny lick repeated ever higher, it seems prettier each time it's played. That describes the album, slightly uneven, sometimes too commercial, but always enjoyable. - John Barrett
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