Luiz Ewerling & A Cor Do Brasil | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Luiz Ewerling & A Cor Do Brasil

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If I were to come back as a pop critic, I'd want to do it in Brazil: since the 50s Brazilian popular song has boasted a level of harmonic and emotional sophistication that matches the complexity of its layered rhythms, and which pretty much puts the mass of American pop to shame. This is the tradition mined by Brazilian-born Chicago drummer Luiz Ewerling (best known these days for his contributions to Marshall Vente's Tropicale), and more often than not he hits pay dirt. "Saudades latinas," on his new self-produced album, Our Earth, tops off a mix of samba beats and Afro-Cuban percussion accents with a wailing guitar solo; "Reencontro" pieces together shards of various familiar tropicalia riffs but emerges with a polished splash of its own. And like tropicalia's pioneers, Ewerling borrows from diverse sources: the opener, "Brasil sadio," recasts the hook from the 70s Keith Jarrett tune "Lucky Southern" in a plucky modern anthem. Despite his allegiance to musica popular brasileira, however, Ewerling could only have assembled his band, A Cor do Brasil, in the States--and possibly only in Chicago. This six-piece melting pot includes only one other Brazilian, the reliable and eclectic percussionist Geraldo de Oliveira; the other members--clarion-voiced singer Temple Schultz, bassist Krzysztof Pabian, guitar whiz Ernie Denov, and keyboardist Vijay Tellis-Nayak--have roots all over Europe and north and south Asia. Our Earth mingles pop composition and jazz phrasing in the way that's distinguished Brazilian music since chorinho evolved into samba; with solid playing from everyone involved, it's a strong debut from a band that could become a major addition to Chicago's still tiny Brazilian-music community. Tonight's performance, a CD-release event, will be followed by a dance party with Chicago Samba. Friday, June 28, 10 PM, Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln; 773-404-9494.

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