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When the Mercury Rises in New York Brazilian Musical Goodies Can’t Be Too Far Away

Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto

Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto Spring is finally here, in New York city, and with it comes the agenda for the season's releases and shows, which become more abundant as the mercury rises. With several new Brazilian-related releases, this promises to be a very good season for the lovers of art, music and literature.

Marco Figueira is a fixture at locales like Brazil Grill and other local Manhattan venues, and he emerges with his new disc, Brazilliance (Blue Toucan Music, in stores), in which he showcases material that is included in his repertoire, such as Corcovado (Quiet Night of Quiet Stars), Roberto Menescal's "O Barquinho" (The Little Boat) and some original material.

Guesting on the disc are other expat musicians, such as Hélio Alves (piano), Paulo Braga (percussion) and German-born Hendrik Muerkens (harmonica). The string arrangements were written by Eumir Deodato. For more on Figueira, visit his webpage at www.marcofigueira.com.

On her third CD, Momento (Six Degrees, April 24) Bebel Gilberto expertly combines the bossa-nova influences of her first disc with the more electronic sounds of her self-titled disc released two years ago.

One of the key tracks is a new arrangement to Cole Porter's "Night and Day" , which receives a Jobim-like treatment; she also takes on uncle Chico Buarque's "Caçada," which receives here a forró arrangement.

There are many original tracks, such as the single "Bring Back The Love," which has already gotten plenty of airplay via remixes by several well-known DJs. Gilberto is on tour this spring, with an extensive US tour that will include New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Miami. For more information, visit www.sixdegreesrecords.com.

Gilberto is also featured on 20 Ways to Float Through Walls, a new release from Crammed Discs (April 24), which showcases their acts. On this disc, we hear a remix of "Céu Distante" by DJ Spinna.

Other Brazilians featured on the disc are Zuco 103, Apollo Nove, Cibelle (with her breathtaking remake of Caetano Veloso's " London London" , Celso Fonseca and DJ Dolores, who shines with " De Dar Dó." The disc will be available at major retailers.

Although not from Brazil, Lisbon-based singer Dulce Pontes has helped to revolutionize the face of Portuguese music by including electronic elements into fado. She performs at Carnegie Hall on May 10th. For more information, visit www.worldmusicinstitute.org.

New York-based Vocalist Elin has been constantly performing in support of her jazzy debut, Lazy Afternoon (Blue Toucan, in stores). Her style reminds you of the softness of Polish-born Anna Maria Jopek, performing classics like "Aquarela do Brasil" and "Doralice" among original tracks.

A former sidewoman with Artie Shaw and Julio Iglesias, she has been headlining in venues like Night and Day and The Bitter End. In April she is scheduled to appear at The Ace of Clubs, and has more dates on the way. For more information, visit www.elinmusic.com.

What would it be if John Coltrane had met Baden Powell? This question is raised by Porto Alegre-born pianist Glauco Sagebin and percussionist Paulo Braga on their new release, When Baden Meets Trane (Blue Toucan, in stores), (Blue Toucan), which borrows from the styles of both legends in re-readings of "Fascinating Rhythm" and Jobim's " Luiza" , plus originals like the title track. Sagebin comes from the great tradition of Bill Evans, playing with the classic trio format perfected by the late master. Check more about this new talent on www.bluetoucanmusic.com/glauco.html.

Ernest Barteldes is a freelance writer based on Staten Island, New York. He can be reached at ebarteldes@yahoo.com.

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