It is impossible to sum up the size of this musical tour de force, it is just immense. Be it the talent, the energy or the incredible amount of collaborators who are taking part. This album musically explodes around listeners in the most pleasant fashion. Standing at the helm of this larger than size effort is Clarice Assad, a unique performer, arranger, multi instrumentalist, singer and practicing musical professor to boot. She belongs to one of Brazil's most cherished musical families, one that includes the better known Assad brothers duo and her aunt Badi, who has had a measure of musical success outside of Brazil and has released albums on the Chesky label.
There are around 40 collaborators and performers involved in Imaginarium. The Assad family has made an art of interpreting and re imagining the many musical styles of Brazil and as a result the album is a cheerful romp, an ever moving musical tapestry that involves Samba, opera, Indian raga, violins, rap and a full Batucada. The tempos and energy are intermingled in each of the songs, which, with the exception of one, will delight and continuously surprise the ears of its listeners. Much like a previous review of Benjamin Taubkin’s collaboration with Moroccan musicians (Al Qantara) this album highlights the very many musical styles of Brazil that we don't often get to hear.
The album is superbly recorded and allows voices, percussion and deep bass all to be heard and not overwhelm each other. You will have to visit Assad’s site to be fully informed about the many instruments and musicians that are involved in each track, they are way too numerous to begin to list in a review.
The album is very short, its 11 songs run for only 38 minutes, but it's packed with enough content and energy to last another day at least. Buy the album or download the very poor MP3 version that is available, either way this is another MUST HEAR that will fill your life with a rarely heard musical joie de vivre. Another album from Adventure Music that will be shortlisted for the album of the year.