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World Music Review

Moreno Veloso Does Family Name Proud

April 07, 2001|DON HECKMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It would be easy to blame nepotism for the arrival of so many young Brazilian performers with familiar names.

But nepotism has had nothing to do with the success of singer Bebel Gilberto (who has reportedly received no support from her father, legendary guitarist-singer Joao Gilberto).

And singer-guitarist Moreno Veloso, in his performance at Largo on Thursday, made it amply clear that talent is the primary gift he has received from his father, Caetano Veloso, one of Brazil's most versatile and gifted musicians.

Blessed with a voice that is as pure and lyrical as his father's, Veloso sang his mostly original program with an assuredness that belied the fact that his recently released "Music Typewriter" was his first album.

Performing with the players present on the album (bassist Alexandre Kassin and electronic percussionist Domenico Lancelloti), he worked his way through most of the material on the CD, including his own idiosyncratic renderings of "I'm Wishing" and the Temptations' "My Girl"

But the most fascinating aspect of the evening was the manner in which Veloso brought new life to the rhythms of samba and bossa nova.

Interacting closely with Kassin's bass lines (which were occasionally modified to resemble underwater bubbling), he contemporized his roots sources without abandoning their rich harmonies and buoyant rhythms.

The music was enhanced by Lancelloti, hovering over a small boxed unit containing sampled percussion sounds, generating room-shaking thumps and infectious grooves.

Even the occasionally cheesy qualities of some of his cymbal samples fit his postmodern approach to drumming. Topping it off, the sometimes humorous soundscape qualities of Veloso's set were further emphasized by an unseen unit generating whirring sound effects reminiscent of '50s science-fiction film scores.

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