Ronaldo Folegatti,
Historias de Beijos
(self-produced, 2002)

On one of my first visits to Brazil, as was my habit when traveling, I stopped in a store that sold recordings and asked for some examples of local popular music. The salesman started me off with a touristy CD that included sambas, but could have been produced in any studio in the U.S. or Europe. With my limited language skills I still managed to communicate, "No, no, something YOU like." Soon a more sensuous samba swayed through store speakers. Spontaneously, clerks and customers threw their arms into the air while hips and shoulders began rotating in time with the music. This album reminded me of that moment and should get you dancing, too.

Guitarist/songwriter/arranger Ronaldo Folegatti leads the session. He appeared briefly on U.S. jazz charts in the early '90s with Sound of Watercolors. That was jazz with a Brazilian feel. The more recent Historias De Beijos (Stories of Kisses) is Brazilian pop with a jazz flavor. There's a hint of Sergio Mendes when the female backup singers chime in. All the tunes were written by Folegatti. They are in a variety of dance rhythms and consistently good. "Paraiso Imerso (Immersed Paradise)" is a wonderful tune performed with a gentle, sexy languor that could only be Brazilian. I asked Folegatti what he called the arrangement. He said, "maybe a fake reggae." Most of my other favorites sound like updated bossa novas from the '60s and '70s. Imagine Astrud Gilberto's version of "The Girl From Ipanema," strengthen the voice a bit, spice up the rhythms and you'll have a feel for the sound of lead vocalist Patricia Araujo.

In addition to Folegatti, Araujo and backup singers we hear Brazilian percussion, piano, various horns and an occasional romantic accordion. The mix varies nicely from one track to the next. Songs are in Portuguese, as are the album notes. (Pardon my translations.)

- Rambles
written by Ron Bierman
published 5 July 2003

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