Various Far Out Strictly Samba

There may be no better point of entry for newcomers to Brazil's national music than Far Out Strictly Samba. Following last year's Far Out Strictly Bossa Nova, Samba is an electrifying and comprehensive icebreaker to the music's eclecticism. While it's tempting to simplify Samba as straight-up party music, and while there's certainly a festive vibe to all of these tracks, selections like Azymuth's "Depois do Carnaval" and Dom Um and Jadir de Castro's "Kaxcatribalim" reflect strong influences of funk, jazz fusion and electronics, demonstrating the music's ability to adjust to different styles while maintaining its infectious tradition. The hands down winner here is Seu Jorge's "Carolina," a lilting, hip-swaying groover complemented by Jorge's folksy, soulful vocals that both neophytes and long-time fans will find entrancing. Throw in some insightful and well-researched liner notes and you have a recipe for your own small carnival. (Far Out)