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Reactivus Amor Est (Turba Philosophorum)

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Album Review

Jorge Ben Jor is the master of samba-funk, and he sticks to what he knows best on this release. But there can still be a lot of variety within that genre as he more than capably shows here. The opener, "Mexe Mexe," for instance, is simply irresistible with its catchy, uplifting chorus (even if it does make you think of "Do the Hustle"), while "O Rei e Rosa Cruz" could almost have come out of the vintage Talking Heads songbook (indeed at times Jor sounds uncannily like David Byrne). "Sao e Slavos" is distinguished by a keyboard lines that meanders through the verses, and "Ze Blueman" mixes neo-techno and heavy brass. But there's a bit of everything here, from the updated- '50s ballad style on "Historia do Homem" to the slow burn of "Tupinambas." "Maria Helena" is a great workout, strong on the percussion, while the curious title track, packed with lyrics in its one-minute-and-twelve seconds, makes for an odd ending. If you like you funk leavened with air, this is definitely the place to come. You might not understand a word he sings (in Portuguese), but when the music is this eloquent, who cares?


Born: 22 March 1942 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Genre: Brazilian

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

While many of the performers during the heyday of Tropicalia and the rise of MPB (música popular brasileira) opted for a more radical stance in their challenge to Brazil's political and cultural authorities, artists like Jorge Ben took a more understated approach. Rather than use overly theatrical performance to shock the audience or write songs loaded with political content, Ben became known as one of the country's great musical alchemists, a furiously eclectic songwriter who combined elements of...
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Reactivus Amor Est (Turba Philosophorum), Jorge Ben
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