2023’s Best of Brazilian Music Showcase

2023's Best of Brazilian Music Showcase! The top songs, stories, videos, and memories from the year that was.

Fan Tested, Listener Approved! Brazilian Music’s Most Exciting Songs.

2023’s Best of Brazilian Music Showcase! These past 12 months brought new music from longtime favorites and rising stars, with more than a few surprises!

Presented by AccuRadio

Welcome to our exclusive end-of-year list for Brazilian music in 2023!

Each year, we present this ‘Best Of’ Showcase to highlight the songs, stories, and milestones of the past 12 months.

2023 brought Brazilian music fans more exciting singles, videos, and albums than they could have imagined 52 weeks ago. These ten songs represent our choices from every Brazilian music style and from all points on the map.

And you’ll enjoy the stories that accompany each one.

What will 2024 Bring?

I started Connect Brazil for fans like you and to support the musicians who create the music we love. If you are new to Connect Brazil, welcome!

2024 promises to be an exciting year for Brazilian music fans. We already have word on at least a dozen new Bossa Nova, Brazilian Jazz, and Urban Bossa releases, but we’re sworn to secrecy.

Want to be the first to hear them? Listen to our live streaming station on Live365 for the latest music news, especially New Music Wednesdays at 11 am, 2 and 5 pm CT (top of the hour) and on demand.

Check out the New Music Brazil channel anytime for the Top 100 new Brazilian songs anytime, worldwide. You can rate the songs, and even create your own custom channel. Always free.

Early 2024 sees us debuting a pair of new channels to the 15-channel lineup, courtesy of AccuRadio.

Happy listening,

Scott Adams, Midday Host

The Sounds of Brazil’s streaming station at Connectbrazil.com

2023’s Best of Brazilian Music Showcase

Presented by Live365

Ivan Lins | ‘Renata Maria’ from My Heart Speaks

Ivan Lins is one of Brazil’s most recognized voices and one of his country’s greatest songwriters. But it’s still hard to believe that nearly 25 years have passed between his last release on an American label and My Heart Speaks. Ask fans who love the album. It was worth the wait.

In fact, these 11 songs – handpicked by Lins – erase the distance of time in a heartbeat by surrounding the four-time Latin Grammy winner with the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra.

For his part, Lins is emotionally connected to the stories he sings. The magic of his moments is reflected in the performances of a talented quartet of special guests: Dianne Reeves, Jane Monheit, Tawanda, and Randy Brecker. The beauty of the string arrangements is breathtaking.

Days ago, My Heart Speaks by Ivan Lins earned a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album. How could this album not be at the very top of our list for 2023’s Best of Brazilian Music Showcase?

  • My Heart Speaks: Browse the best reviews here.
  • Catch up with current stories for Ivan Lins here.

Buy it here: Resonance Records | Amazon Music | Bandcamp | Linktree

Listen free: New Music: Brazil | Brazilian Jazz | Sunday Brazilian Brunch | Our Streaming Station

Gregory Abbott | ‘Whisper The Words’

The worldwide success of Gregory Abbott’s ‘Shake You Down’ pushed it to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100. Certified Platinum, it won 1987’s Soul Train Award for Best Male Single. But Abbott did not attend. So, where was he?

In Rio de Janeiro, filming a video and doing appearances on TV Globo. That’s where he met a rising Brazilian pop star, Rosana. “We were both signed to CBS Records, and she requested me as a duet partner. So, I, along with a few Brazilian writers wrote the song ‘Tudo é Vida’. She was a blast to work with!” Watch ‘Tudo é Vida here.

Last Spring, Abbott’s Urban Bossa single ‘Whisper The Words’ rose to the top of our streaming playlists. The lyrics linger on those memories. Here’s Gregory:

“I love Brazilian music’s easy melodic flow, and since rhythm has always been a central part of my own creations, Brazilian music is an easy fit. You might be surprised to know that I listen to it all the time and have for years.

I also like the flexibility of Brazilian music in its expressions of joy, sorrow, and…… ahhh…. the poetic expression of love itself. I definitely intend to explore more Urban Bossa in the future.”

Review for ‘Whisper The Words’.

Buy it hereFrom the Artist | Amazon Music | Apple Music Spotify

Listen free: Bossa Nova Love Affair | Brazilian Jazz | New Music: Brazil Our Streaming Station

Scott Mayo | ‘Valsa Soprano’ from Meu Brasil

Scott Mayo is America’s most-seen horn player for Brazilian music. We cheer and applaud him whenever Sergio Mendes comes to town. Scott Mayo is the saxophonist, and his album Meu Brasil is among 2023’s best Brazilian jazz albums.

“It’s called “My Brazil” because I wanted to share how the music has touched me and, from my Black American perspective, how I feel the music,” says Mayo.

16 tracks reflect Mayo’s passion for Brazil via his talents as an arranger, producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist. Special guests include Mendes, Dori Caymmi, Guinga, and Gracinha Leporace.

His flute-driven ‘Magic’ swings with tropical ease. Brass horns come to play on the street-smart samba, ‘Onda Negra’. ‘Valsa Soprano’ takes us to the prayer circles of Salvador’s Orixás, while Mayo’s vocals open the album with ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’, a song he wrote with Mendes and John Legend. More? “I was in Brazil with Sergio when Guinga came by the studio,” said Mayo. “When he played ‘Trenzinho do Corcovado,’ I fell in love.” It’s here, too.

“I’m excited about 2024,” says Mayo. “I’m thinking about more shows in the U.S., Brazil, and Europe. Meanwhile, there’s so much more to do with Meu Brasil which is the result of a four-year journey of love for a music and culture that has been a huge part of my life.”

It’s been a while since Brazilian jazz fans were surprised with an album like this one. Turns out that ‘Meu Brasil’ is ours, too, and a more than worthy addition to 2023’s Best of Brazilian Music Showcase.

Buy it here: From the Artist | Amazon Music | Apple Music | Spotify |

Listen free: XODO | New Music: Brazil | Brazilian JazzOur Streaming Station

Connect Brazil Recommends:

It’s Bossa Nova’s 65th birthday! Surprise the Bossa Nova lover in your life with this ‘you are there’ historical account of Bossa Nova. An unequaled page-turner! Click the image for more.

2023’s Best of Brazilian Music Showcase

Presented by Live365

Jay King | ‘My Song’ from Soulful Bossanova

One of the most pleasant musical surprises of ‘23 arrived in two parts. The first was the discovery of Jay King’s Soulful Bossanova album. The other was the rise of a new genre for Brazil’s most famous rhythm, Urban Bossa.

By the mid-80s, King was a driving force in the music business, producing both Timex Social Club and Club Nouveau (remember ‘Lean On Me’?) and managing the careers of the R&B group Cameo, Kathy Sledge, and others.

King’s passion for Bossa Nova and especially the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim led to Soulful Bossanova. Its rhythmic and romantic style is an easy fit. Think Quiet Storm meets ‘Quiet Nights’.

Successful at everything he does, Jay King is always moving forward. And when it comes to Brazilian music, he’s as fascinated with Djavan as he is with Jobim’s string arrangements.

We’ve already heard his next Urban Bossa single, and it won’t be long before you’ll find it to be… irresistible.

Buy it here: From the ArtistAmazon Music | Apple Music | Spotify

Listen free: Bossa Nova Love Affair | XODONew Music: Brazil | Our Streaming Station

Bebel Gilberto | ‘É Preciso Perdoar (We Need To Forgive)’ from João

How time flies. 2023 celebrates Bossa Nova’s 65th anniversary. And while Antonio Carlos Jobim rightly gets credit for many of Bossa Nova’s hits, the truth is that another musician created the Bossa beat.

Bebel Gilberto’s father.

And while João Gilberto lived his amazing life behind a veil of privacy, Bebel Gilberto’s life is a virtual open book. And it’s reflected in her music.

Recent chapters are autobiographical. Bebel’s mother Miucha passed away near the end of Bossa Nova’s 60th year, in 2018. Back then (in an interview with Kevin O’Donnell), Bebel said “[My dad] taught me to be a perfectionist. But my mother taught me how to lose it.”

The passing of her father a year later prompted Agora (Now), her first new album in six years. As you would expect, the album reflected the turmoil of a life undergoing change. Agora is a portrait of stark contrast when compared to her previous recordings.

Then, rebirth. The first single from 2023’s João came with the Spring of Bossa Nova’s 65th year. A handpicked collection of 11 favorites by her father’s hand caused Bebel Gilberto to recall that for the first time in her life “I was learning how to sing my father’s songs”.

  • Read our review of Bebel Gilberto’s João here.
  • Browse all recent Bebel Gilberto stories here.

Buy it here: From the ArtistAmazon | Apple Music | Spotify | Links

Listen free: New Music: Brazil | Bossa Nova Love AffairWomen of Brazilian Song | Our Streaming Station

Ella & The Bossa Beat | ‘Dindi’

In 2020, we wrote, “Ella & The Bossa Beat is one of several new groups shaping the future of Brazilian Jazz Soul.”  Here’s an update: 2023 has been a breakout year.

‘Areia’, Ella & The Bossa Beat’s first duet with Toco arrived late last winter. The song swept to the pinnacle of our streaming playlists as one of the most-played Brazilian songs of 2023. ‘Amanhecer’, a cozy and rhythmic second duet with Toco followed, and here’s breaking news from Ella: “We’re finishing our third single with Toco, soon to be released!”

The dreamy ‘Dindi’ (featuring Brazilian saxman Paulo Levi) came calling in October as one of Autumn’s fastest-rising favorite songs.

Concerts and club dates filled our social calendars, fronted by Ella’s vocals and her dad Magrus Borges, one of Brazil’s most creative percussion tastemakers on the planet. “We traveled to Brazil twice this year,” says Ella. “Our best concert memory was for Theatro da Paz in Belem, Brazil. It felt amazing to be there in my father’s hometown again, where I was raised.”

What’s in store for 2024? Back to Brazil for shows at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Rio and São Paulo, a new album, and maybe a beach music festival in the Amazon, says Ella.

  • Catch up with our recent stories on Ella & The Bossa Beat here.

Buy it here: Amazon Music | Apple Music | Spotify

Listen free: XODO! | Brazilian Jazz | New Music: Brazil | Our Streaming Station

Connect Brazil Recommends:

This comfy Rio Tee for men and women comes in all sizes, blue, silver grey, pink, white, and black. Order here.

2023’s Best of Brazilian Music Showcase

Presented by AccuRadio

Marcos Ariel | ‘Copacabana Lush Night’

It’s been a busy year for keyboardist and singer Marcos Ariel, and it’s been one dedicated to keeping the ears of happy Bossa Nova and Brazilian Jazz fans busy. The best part? Ariel’s timing could not be better for Bossa Nova’s 65th birthday and 2023’s Best of Brazilian Music Showcase.

January brought us ‘Let’s Move To Rio’, a frolicking 60s-style romantic duet with Lulu Joppert that captures the innocence and imagination that defines so many of our favorite Bossa Nova evergreens.

‘Copacabana Lush Night’ followed, with Ariel at the keyboards for a jazzy instrumental featuring the debut of trumpeter José Arimatéa plus famed bassist Ney Conceição. Both the melody and Ariel’s improvisation are spot on, bringing an edgier attitude to Bossa Nova’s contemporary sound.

Marcos Ariel’s third single for 2023 is called ‘New Bridge’, another instrumental, no doubt with a nod to the promise of Bossa Nova’s next decade. Here, Ariel’s Brazilian Grand carries a breezy, uplifting melody shared with saxophonist Tino Junior.

Each of these three should be part of your personal playlist for the holidays and beyond and we look forward to the release of Marcos Ariel’s This Is Bossa Nova, Part 3!

Buy it here: Amazon Music | Apple Music | Spotify

Listen free: New Music: Brazil | Bossa Nova Love Affair Brazilian Jazz Instrumentals | Our Streaming Station

Caro Pierotto | ‘Espaçonave’ from Sambalismo

2023 has given Brazilian music fans an exceptional bounty of incredible recordings. Far too many to include in this list. One of the year’s best albums comes to us from Los Angeles singer and songwriter, Caro Pierotto.

Sambalismo is a 5-star collection of original Sambas, offered in a variety of traditional styles, with contemporary accents that will delight and surprise.

Each of these 10 songs reflects Pierotto’s maturity as both a songwriter and as a storyteller, from the Sambas of Carnaval to Samba Reggae, and even Samba’s more popular cousin, Bossa Nova.

Sung entirely in Portuguese and recorded in Rio de Janeiro, Sambalismo carries the da gema mark of authenticity that recent efforts from others in the same vein lack. In fact, it’s easy to imagine Beth Carvalho or Alcione singing these very songs. A compliment, to be sure.

A final thought on Caro Pierotto’s Sambalismo? Albums of this kind are rare and wonderful, and an essential part of our Best of Brazilian Music ’23 Showcase.

Want the backstory on the making of Sambalismo? Read it here.

Buy it herefrom Caro’s website (CD) | Amazon Music | Apple Music | Spotify

Listen free: XODÓ | New Music: Brazil | Women Of Brazilian Song | Our Streaming Station

Paprika Soul | ‘Rio Sunset’’ From Originals Collection

Trends? Every year has them, and 2023 gave us several surprises for Brazilian music fans to enjoy.

One of them surprised us, too. For the first time in quite a while, vocals outpaced instrumentals. Even more surprising is that – in many cases – fans loved them equally.

So, when we went searching for instrumental Brazilian jazz songs that had already been released but were not well known to our listeners, we found this one from the London-based group Paprika Soul.

They have several musical lineups and styles, but somehow manage to stay at the forefront of the UK Jazz scene. Paprika Soul enjoys the creativity of producers and songwriters Alain Barnes and Andrew Spiller.

Last summer, we wrote that “‘Rio Sunset’ is a smoothly sonic, soothingly immersive keyboard and wood flute anthem pulsed by insistent rhythms and wordless vocals. Fans of Paul Hardcastle will no doubt be thrilled with Paprika Soul’s ‘Rio Sunset’.”

Keep your ears open for more from Paprika Soul in the chilly months ahead.

Buy it here:  Amazon Music 

Listen free: Cafe Copacabana | New Music: Brazil | Sunday Brazilian Brunch | Our Streaming Station

Jorge Vercillo| ‘Raça Menina’ from Raça Menina

Brazilian pop music (no longer can we refer to it as MPB) is still finding its way forward. The talent is abundant, but the scene moves with unpredictable tides.

Who knew that we were waiting for a tsunami?

When Raça Menina made it to our shores in early March, we were impressed by its scale and its depth. Brazilian pop star Jorge Vercillo had spent the better part of three years preparing for the album’s production. He knew what he was doing and left no stones unturned.

But Raça Menina seemed like a sleeper. A pop album that wanted to be more. So we programmed five songs into our New Music: Brazil channel… and waited.

Brazilian music fans loved them, and Raça Menina emerged from its slumber to become epic in ways that few pop albums can be.

As the title suggests, Raça Menina is a musical homecoming for Vercillo. With it comes an honest depth of spirit and purpose, lifting each of these songs to new heights.

International influences abound – and define – Vercillo’s Raça. The title track is produced by Miami’s Lourival Rodriguez. Angolese composer Filipe Mukenga contributed his own ‘Humbi Humbi’ by assisting Jorge Vercillo with its translation into Portuguese.

Here’s an album worthy of owning, and one of the very best from Brazilian music in 2023.

Buy it here:  Amazon Music

Listen free: Bossa Nova Love Affair | Preciso Brazilian | New Music: Brazil Our Streaming Station

Music, Travel, Friends, And Fun!

2023’s Best of Brazilian Music Showcase

Stories like ‘2023’s Best of Brazilian Music Showcase’ are what we do. Why don’t you join us? Sign Up for our e-letter. Listen to our ‘always live’ streaming station and our 15 streaming music channels, always free. Browse our Lifestyle Directory. Click here to like our Facebook page and here for Brazilian events coast to coast.