One-Track Mind: ‘Choros & Alegria’ by Moacir Santos

Older than the hills? Close. How about "music eternal"?

It almost seemed that clarinetist, saxophonist and singer Moacir Santos was older that the hills of the Brazilian northeast that he came from, but you’d never know it from the wealth of great tunes found on this collection.

If the term ‘Choro’ is Brazil’s answer to our ‘jazz’, then surely Moacir Santos must be thought of as its Ellington. These well-crafted and elegantly poised songs are easy on the ears and they rightly show us a side to Brazilian music that is not commonly recognized here in the US. The Choro is a wonderful song style – it can be joyously happy or languid and somewhat melancholy at a turn, and I can’t think of another recording, which comes close to being the almost irresistible invitation that this CD provides.

The line up reads like a ‘who’s who’ of Brazilian jazz, including producers Zé Nogueira and Mario Adnet (above, with Santos), guitarist Ricardo Silveira, and percussionist Armando Marçal (Pat Metheny Group), along with a host of names you may not recognize. But don’t let that stop you: This is one of those rare moments when a career defining CD somehow manages to cross borders to become an instant classic. Think the ‘Getz/Gilberto’ CD and you’ll understand why it was nominated for a Latin Grammy for ‘Best Instrumental Album’ upon its release, which occurred just weeks after his passing at age 82.

Here’s our One-Track choice: