Brazil Meets Cuba
The combination of Chucho Valdés’ Afro-Cuban fusion jazz with Ivan Lins’ elaborate songwriting has produced a truly world-class recording. For Ivan Lins music lovers, Ao Vivo em Cuba is more than a collection of greatest hits. The new arrangements and totally new Caribbean flavor in Lins’ songs are unforgettable and just sound well together.
Ivan Lins is not new to the world market. Since Quincy Jones’s Grammy winner arrangement of “Velas” hit the air waves in 1981, Ivan Lins’s music is being recorded by artists such as George Benson, Manhattan Transfer, Mark Murphy, Diane Schuur, Sting, Nancy Wilson and a fantastic array of renowned names. Also, the encounter of Brazil and Cuba is not new. This Brazilian-Cuban romance has survived governments and geographical distances. Pablo Milanés, for example, has sung some of his songs with Chico Buarque and Simone. This new flame with Ivan Lins is the result of the work of Julio Ballester Guzmán and Vítor Martins (Ivan Lins’s most regular songwriting partner).
As indicated in the liner notes, Ao Vivo em Cuba was recorded in La Casa de la Música (Havana, Cuba) before a live audience exclusively comprised of Cuban artists and musicians. Irakere’s Latin percussion and, especially, Chucho Valdés’s piano accompaniment carry most of the songs in this release. To give the audience a breathing moment, Ivan Lins sings a few songs only with piano accompaniment. It is during this segment of the show that we hear a medley of “Garota de Ipanema” and “Aos Nossos Filhos.” Though a rather unusual medley, the ending result is quite pleasing. However, from the opening track of “Lua Soberana/Confins,” the listener has no alternative but agree with Franklin Valverde’s statement that this CD is a “cocktail to be enjoyed slowly.” “Somos Todos Iguais Nesta Noite,” “Dinorah” or the closing track “Ai, Ai, Ai, Ai, Ai” will be anything and everything that encompass Cuban and Brazilian flavors.
Ivan Lins, Chucho Valdés e Irakere
Ao Vivo em Cuba
Velas 11-V182 (1996)
- Lua Soberana (Vitor Martins – Ivan Lins) / Confins (Ivan Lins – Vitor Martins – Aldir Blanc)
- Somos Todos Iguais Esta Noite (Vitor Martins – Ivan Lins)
- Começar de Novo (Vitor Martins – Ivan Lins)
- Dinorah (Vitor Martins – Ivan Lins)
- La Explosion (Instrumental) (Chucho Valdés) – Irakere
- Lembra de Mim (Vitor Martins – Ivan Lins)
- Iluminados (Vitor Martins – Ivan Lins)
- Garota de Ipanema (Tom Jobim – Vinicius de Moraes) / Aos Nossos Filhos (Ivan Lins-Vitor Martins)
- Vitoriosa (Vitor Martins – Ivan Lins)
- Ai, Ai, Ai, Ai, Ai (Vitor Martins – Ivan Lins)
A modified version of this review first appeared in Luna Kafé in April 1997.