Last week Brazil's Orchestra Imperial made one of two US appearances here in Chicago. The group followed Seu Jorge--a long-time associate who joined them for seven or eight numbers--and played to a much diminished crowd at Millennium Park. They lacked Jorge's star power, and their repertoire consisted mostly of classic samba tunes unfamiliar to Yankee audiences. It was too bad, because Imperial's free-form revue was something else. An excellent by-product of the group's performance was a number of superb spin-off performances. In my last post I mentioned a great gig by Domenico + 2--all of whom play with Imperial--but there were also sets by Nina Becker, which I missed, the legendary samba drummer Wilson das Neves, and one by keyboardist/guitarist Rubinho Jacobina. I know practically nothing about him, except that his brother Nelson co-wrote a bunch of tunes on Eu Não Peço Desculpa, the great collaboration between Caetano Veloso and Jorge Mautner from a few years ago.
Anyway, Jacobina fronted a super band that featured Domenico on drums, Pedro Sa on bass, Bartolo on electric guitar, and himself on acoustic guitar, and their engaging set mixed bits of old-school disco grooves, rock, and Brazilian rhythmic accents with indelible pop hooks. He's not the greatest singer, but he got the job done; heard against so much other Brazilian music it may not be that special, but I'll certainly take it over nearly all rock music manufactured here in America. This track opens the eponymous debut of the group--Rubinho e Forca Bruta, the band moniker nicked from Jorge Ben's classic 1970 album of the same name--and it grooves on that disco beat. This track was performed by Imperial as well as the quartet.