Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Manhattan Transfer - Brasil (1987)


I was a big Manhattan Transfer in the '80s and probably would have purchased this album immediately and without question if I hadn't first heard the single Soul Food To Go on the radio. It didn't sound like a Transfer song to me and I was couldn't quite figure out what the group was trying to do. I didn't (and still don't) care for it. After hearing that one song, I was immediately done with the group. I know that sounds harsh; who knows why we have thoughts like that? Fast forward 20 years: I've come to terms with the group's wacky sense of musical direction when I see this disc sitting in a used CD bin. I decide to risk $5 and finally check it out. I'm still trying to figure out what this group is trying to do here. I'm guessing they thought they could take Brazilian pop music (Música Popular Brasileira or MPB) and make it more accessible to American audiences. While that might sound promising to a record company executive, musicians know that MPB is accessible to American audiences as is. It certainly doesn't need the bad "updated" arrangements that plague this release. Of the nine tracks here, only one is sung in Portuguese, the rest in English as if American audiences can't appreciate the beauty of the Portuguese language. Still, they bring out the big guns here, including Stan Getz, David Sanborn, Jeff Lorber, Ivan Lins, etc. One of the biggest crimes here is that the group's vocal talents are pretty much wasted, their trademark tight harmonies almost absent in favor of traditional pop harmonies. In other words, almost anyone could have done this album. That's a shame.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #96

Tracks: The songs that come closest to what I would consider Brazilian pop music are Capim, Metropolis, Hear The Voices, and maybe The Jungle Pioneer. I have heard at least five different arrangements of Ivan Lins' Antes Que Seja Tarde and the plodding attempt on this CD is by far the worse. I don't need to hear the other tracks ever again.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Bodies and Souls (1983)

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