Various The Rough Guide to the Music of Brazil: Rio De Janeiro

How far has this series come in the last few years? The first Rough Guide I purchased was their survey of West African music — thousands of square kilometres there, to say nothing of the diversity of its population. They’ve kept narrowing and refining their focus to cover individual cities, genres and personalities, and have produced some. The Rough Guide to Rio De Janeiro is a reasonably democratic survey of the forces at work in contemporary Rio. It’s certainly not all cutting edge stuff; there’s a good representation of young and old performers, although all are represented by recent recordings. The sound tends towards the laidback bossa and samba informed heritage of years past. Contributions by Trio Mocoto and Nelson Sargento have timeless appeal, where neo-soul groover Ed Motta could set dance floors alight in at least three continents. Nonetheless, some edgier tracks are thrown in such as the outstanding cover of Chico Buarque’s "Construcao” by Quinta, packed with aggressive percussion sounds. You’ll have to look elsewhere for your fix of Baile Funk, but this is not irrelevant music, it works well both as a survey of a very diverse municipality with many cross-currents, and as a sampler for those who want to update their cool sounds of the ’60s with something fresh. (Rough Guides)