You would be forgiven if you thought you were listening to a Brasilian while playing Next Stop Brazil by Phil Marucci. The Portuguese is near perfect even to a Brasilian ear on this recording. But what is even more amazing is Mr Marucci’s diction and articulation, which is so soulfully Brasilian that his phrasing is redolent of alegria e saudade in a manner that is so emotional he appears to be reincarnated as a carioca, a paulista; even a baiano depending on how any given song demands to be sung.
Indeed, the wonderful repertoire on this recording “speaks” to Mr Marucci is a very intimate manner. As a result, he is able not only to tell a story as the composer intended it to be told, but also to articulate the emotions of the characters in the songs with precision and nuance. This aspect of his vocal ability is especially wonderful on the manner in which he sculpts the long inventions of “Quero um Xamego”. He is, of course, aided and abetted by the beautiful and sultry voice of Vanessa Falabella and the inspired performance of the truly gifted accordionist (and pianist) Vitor Gonçalves, standing in for the song’s legendary composer and accordionist Dominguinhos.
Mr Marucci is one of a growing number of Americans who continue to fall prey to the charms of Brasilian music. But he is in a small minority of artists who are not simply smitten with the music, subsumed by its passion and emotion, and work on aligning their craft with the unique demands of Brasilian emotion, the idiosyncrasies of diction, inflection and rhythm of spoken and sung Brasilian-Portuguese. So, you almost never feel as if the lyrics are phonetically rendered through the recording. One is led to believe that either Mr Marucci has not only mastered the language but has the innate ability to “shape-shift” and assume a Brasilian body and soul. This is something very few non-Brasilians can claim. Add to that a voice that has the texture of raw silk, rustling in a smoky ambience and you have something quite remarkable in the form of Mr Marucci.
The chance of success is substantially magnified with the inclusion here of some of the finest Brasilian musicians in the United States. Musicians such as the great drummer Duduka Da Fonseca, his wife and the ineffably wonderful vocalist Maucha Adnet, percussion colourist Cyro Baptista, Vitor Gonçalves, reeds and woodwinds maestros Jorge Continentino and Carlos Eduardo da Costa (who also contributes gorgeous arrangements to “Quero um Xamego” and “Flor de Maracuja”), and bassists Eduardo Belo and Gustavo Amarante. Add to that the magnificent guitar of Paul Meyers and some incomparable writing from that other honorary Brasilian Klaus Müller and last, but not least, some of the greatest repertoire available in a Brasilian Songbook and you have the perfect recipe for a mistura fina, which is exactly why this is an album to absolutely die for.
Track list – 1: Batucada Surgiu; 2: Chiclete Com Banana; 3: Next Stop Brazil; 4: Samba Do Soho; 5: Lugar Comum; 6: Eu Vim da Bahia; 7: Quero Um Xamego; 8: Flor De Maracuja; 9: Alegre Menina; 10: Coração Vagabundo; 11: Sina; 12: Mambembe
Personnel – Phil Marucci: vocals (1 – 8, 10 – 12), piano (1 – 12) and whistling (4, 11); Vitor Gonçalves: accordion (3, 7); Paul Meyers: guitar (1, 2, 4 – 12); Claudio Roditi: trumpet (6); Jorge Continentino: flute (1 – 4, 10, 11), pifano flute (7), alto flute (9)and tenor saxophone (1); Duduka Da Fonseca: drums (1 – 5, 7, 10); Cyro Baptista: percussion (1, 4 – 6, 8, 9, 11, 12); Maucha Adnet: vocals (9, 11), backing vocals (4) percussion (3, 7) and triangle (8); Vanessa Falabella: vocals (3, 7) and backing vocals (2, 5, 12); Carlos Eduardo da Costa: guitar (3), electric guitar (7), backing vocals (1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10 – 12), soprano saxophone (8, 12) and arrangements (7, 8); Gustavo Amarante: electric bass (3, 5, 7 – 9, 11, 12); Eduardo Belo: contrabass (1, 2, 4, 10); Klaus Mueller: arrangements (1, 2, 4, 10)
Released – 2018
Label – Independent
Runtime – 53:33