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POP MUSIC | RECORD RACK

*** GILBERTO GIL, "Quanta," Mesa/Atlantic

September 07, 1997|Don Heckman

Singer-songwriters in Brazil don't seem to disappear from public consciousness the way they do in the U.S. Perhaps it's because artists such as Gil often play prominent roles in politics as well as music. A significant voice since the late '60s, he spent several years in exile before becoming one of the ignition points for the Brazilian music of the '70s and beyond. More recently, he has served as Secretary of Culture in his native city, Salvador.

This two-CD set is Gil's first album of new material since "Parabolicamara" five years ago. Its 20 songs rove over a wide landscape of ideas and emotions. The title track includes a duet with Milton Nascimento. There are songs devoted to science ("Ciencia e Arte"), to the Internet ("Pela Internet," introduced in Brazil, appropriately, over the Internet), and dedications to contemporaries ("De Ouro e Marfim" for Antonio Carlos Jobim and "Um Abraco No Joa~o" for Joa~o Gilberto). There are bossa novas and sambas and forros, as well as traces of American funk and rock.

Add to that Gil's rhythmic singing, and the result is a musical resume of the talents of an extraordinary artist, and an album that belongs in the collection of every Brazilian music fan.

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Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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Hear the Music

* Excerpts from these albums and other recent releases are available on The Times' World Wide Web site. Point your browser to: http://www.latimes.com/soundclips

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