With all the Brazilians living in South Florida, you'd think the local music scene would be teeming with the sounds of samba, tropicalia, bossa nova, and rock em portugues. But while heavyweights like Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso occasionally pass through our territory, the only local Brazilian act of note is songstress Rose Max.
With her recently released electro-lounge album Atlantico, Max tones down her usual soaring jazz vocals (heard live at clubs around town like Van Dyke Café and Jazid) to accompany producers Robert Collado and Frank Amoros's cool synth washes and mostly laid-back drum programming. Generally it's a good fit, with Max's soothing voice and Portuguese lyrics and Ramatis Moraes's airy acoustic guitar a natural for the album's lounge format. But the producers' approach could use a dose of Max's easy, organic vibe, as their backing tracks often sound too synthetic.
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Two Gilberto Gil covers stand out -- the beautiful and bright "Toda Menina Baiana" and "Palco." The other songs, all expertly written by Max and her producers, have a slight bluesy feel, and the title track is a memorable day at the beach with her expansive vocals that caress the ears like a warm ocean breeze. Fans of Max may wish Atlantico had more of the verve of her live performances, where the warmth and range of her voice are more apparent. But it's a perfect accompaniment for sipping drinks at Segafredo, or some other South Beach hot spot.