Jorge Ben


Already a burgeoning force in the samba world, Jorge Ben might not have been a card-carrying tropicálista per se (ie, he doesn’t appear on the cover of the iconic Tropicália comp), but his 1969 album made clear his sympathies. With its vivid cover art commingling Catholic imagery, palm fronds, and Barbarella, Ben keeps his samba foundation intact, while adding electric guitars and the swagger of American psychedelic soul (see “Take It Easy My Brother Charles”). The slinky island groove of “País Tropical” would soon be covered by Gal Costa, while “Charles, Anjo 45” would become a single for Veloso. But this album is far more than an alignment with the group, as it also anticipates not just Ben’s funky decade ahead but also provided the blueprint for another movement, Black Rio, which fused together Brazilian and Black American music into a formidable new alliance.

Andy Beta