Moreno + 2 | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
comment

Moreno +2 made an auspicious debut in 2001 with Music Typewriter (Luaka Bop), a forward-looking collection of sambas and bossa novas. The trio, fronted by Moreno Veloso (son of Caetano), built elegant, simple ballads around soothing acoustic guitar figures, then integrated smart electronic touches--"Enquanto isso" was driven by drum 'n' bass thumping; synthesizer and theremin squiggles livened up "Das partes." Moreno wrote most of these songs, but the group members shifted duties for its excellent second album, Sincerely Hot (released last year and thus far available only as a pricey import on Nippon Crown): it was percussionist Domenico Lancelloti's turn to lead. (Accordingly, the disc's credited to Domenico +2.) While Domenico doesn't shy away from traditional Brazilian forms--the vibraphone-drenched, organ-stabbed "Aeropuerto 77" is a cool samba, "Solar" is a spare, ethereal bossa nova--he does bring the trio's experimental impulses to the fore. The minimal "Alegria, vai la," which rides a taut, stuttering groove, is ever so slightly fleshed out by rising and falling analog synth squelches and vocals that are half sung, half rapped. The title track is digitally edited to make a mixture of banjo and guitar sound like a cavaquinho (a tiny, sweet-toned Brazilian stringed instrument), creating lines that strut over Alexandre Kassin's lurching bass to give the song a distinctive Tom Ze feel. "Felizes ficaremos na estrada" is pure hot-tub soul, with a strained falsetto vocal from Lancelloti and a screaming electric guitar solo by guest Pedro Sa that summons the liquid psychedelia of Ernie Isley. Great as both albums are, however, the trio's live performances leave them in the dust. Lancelloti all but steals the show, energetically pushing buttons on his sad-looking MPC sampler to play the drum parts in real time. When I saw the group perform last fall in Berlin the showstopper was "Voce e eu," a frantic mixture of favela hip-hop, carnival rhythms, and nu-metal stomp. This gig is one of only three U.S. shows on the group's present tour. Friday, March 14, 8 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln; 773-728-6000.

Add a comment