Album review: Nana Vasconcelos, 4 Elementos (Far Out Recordings)


Maybe when you are Brazil’s most revered percussionist (Vasconcelos has played with Jan Garbarek and Pat Metheny among others) you feel obliged to stretch the bashing-and-tapping-things envelope. For there doesn’t appear to be any musical reason for what sounds like underwater conga playing or, for that matter, rigorous crisp packet shaking.

Yes, the album is centred on the four elements, so the water makes conceptual sense even if it is otherwise just an irritant. But such shenanigans only spoil a couple of tracks.

Elsewhere, Vasconcelos gives us an agreeably adventurous mix of samba, bossa nova, psychedelic rock and experimentation, the best of which brings to mind the work of Tropicália legend, Tom Zé.