field report no.101216

SUBJECT: Caetano Veloso

I will admit to vaguely hoping this Caetano Veloso show was going to be with a full-band. I've only seen him once before, and just earlier this year, despite years of obsessing over his music. That first show was a similarly acoustic setting, pairing him with his longtime friend Gilberto Gil. Given that Caetano rarely plays the US (outside of New York—and maybe LA or Chicago) this might also be one of the last times I would get to see him. It would have been nice to diversify. Of course, it's fairly quibbling to gripe about getting to see a titan of music, someone who dominates more than one generation of their country's music, twice in one year.

Brazilian music, built upon the foundation bossa nova is a curious beast. It's inherited the passion of fado, the groove of samba and the phrasing of jazz. The best Brazilian tunes are so effortlessly graceful they're both rapturous and conversational; divinely casual. The chords and harmonies may yearn but the delivery is ever breezy and carefree. Caetano himself is steeped in the traditions but also a fearless innovator. Solo, music from across his broad, 5-decade career show reunites songs that may have been divisive in their time to their bossa nova roots. 

It was also a treat to see the show at Town Hall. While nobody but the most shameless tourist wants to get that close to Times Square, the venue itself is steeped in jazz and NY history.

NOTES: Caetano Veloso, solo; Teresa Cristina