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Dance, Brazilian style

Bragad
Bragadá
By Tony Mola

Blue Jackel Records: 1996

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This review first appeared in the November 8, 1996 issue of the North County Times.

Brazilian, yes; bossa nova, no.

In fact, Tony Mola's throbbing, synopatic, funky dance music is about as far from the smooth sophistication of bossa nova as one could get. "Bragadá" is more in the spirit of Carnaval, the Brazilian incarnation of Mardi Gras. Mola's style takes the melodiousness of Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan and marries it to the Afro-Latin rhythms of Desi Arnaz, then doubles the meter. The result is a world-beat R&B that's as accessible as the latest Hollywood creation yet fresh and exotic.

The band is built around a half-dozen percussionists and fleshed out with accordion, trumpet, saxophone, tuba (instead of bass) and a vocal chorus. And do they cook!

The CD starts off at full speed: "Pega-Pega" isa pure dance song with a driving rhythm that demands you get your butt off the chair and try to keep up. The next cuts, "Tribal" and "Abracadabra" don't slow down at all, either. It's the fourth song before you get a chance to catch your breath – if only a little.

The best cut on here, "Volta Pra Mim" ("Baby Come Back to Me"), could easily be a Top 40 hit in the United States if it ever got airplay. It's pure rhythm and blues with a hypnotically catchy tune, great vocals and – of course – a tight little dance beat.

If you're looking for that perfect CD for your next party, the one that will have everyone lost in a musical trance, this is the one to get.