Time Out Rio de Janeiro

Album review: Orquestra Imperial

Fazendo as Pazes com o Swing

Throughout 2012, the Orquestra Imperial has marked a decade of gafiera-blazing concerts and superstar line-ups with a series of celebratory shows, and they cap the year off with the release of their debut album, Fazendo as Pazes com Swing.

Starting life as a traditional gafiera (‘ball’) band playing ballroom classics with a modern twist, the Orquestra became something of a revelation on the carioca musical map, joined on stage for impromptu collaborations by an array of stars including Ed Motta, Seu Jorge and even The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde. Epitomising the Brazilian approach to music, the ever-changing musicians were also members of a host of other outfits, but on the rare occasions that the Imperial came together as a whole, something special was invariably ignited.

The record has all the emotion, poise and gentle sashay and swing you would expect from the classy outfit, albeit presented a little more gently than in the live arena. Don’t let the electronic bleeps of opening track ‘moléculas’ fool you, it isn’t long before the sweet vocals of Nina Becker sweep in to begin the 13-track journey through samba-jazz and MPB.

The combined talents of 23 different vocalists and musicians help make for a varied trip, too, with a future Carnival classic 'cair na folha' in stark contrast to Thelma de Freitas' delicate torch song 'enquanto a gente namor'. At its heart, though, Fazendo as Pazes... is an album capturing the essence of Rio de Janeiro’s most beloved big band and the passion for the music shown by founding member Nélson Jacobina who died in May 2012, and to whom the record is dedicated.

Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors
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