Jair Oliveira, Simples

Peter Margasak

By Peter Margasak

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Sweet, sweet cavaquinho.

Jair Oliveria, son of the great samba singer Jair Rodrigues, takes a stripped-down, intimate approach on his latest record, duly living up its title (translation: simple). He made his mark with a slick brand of funked-up samba along with folks like Max de Castro and Fernanda Porto, but here the programmed beats and keyboard ambience is gone — it's just funky acoustic guitar licks, sweet cavaquinho, high-precision bass lines and propulsive drumming. The funk is still there, but now it subtly drives and accents the tunes rather than clobbering them. He's a terrific singer and his songwriting is even better — just about everything here sounds like a future classic. Most contemporary samba overloads with choruses with treacly group vocals — Oliveira wisely lets listeners hear the songs without all of the hoopla, and ends up with his best record.