I have not heard Brazilian Beats 1 or 2 - but from hearing Brazilian Beats 3 and knowing the London-based label Mr. Bongo's penchant for unearthing some of of the most exciting sounds from Brazil I can only imagine that those two compilations are also excellent too.
This compilation has a bit of everything for everybody, and to my ears only has 4 bad songs (tracks 5,6,10 and 11) - the rest are real keepers or just very interesting to hear on a compilation. Just when this cd gets a certain groove going and you think you can pigeon- hole it it switches things up. With that in mind lets take a walk through each track.
Track 1 A Beira Mar [Sao Benitez Lush Mix] by Ive Mendes starts us out with the smooth female vocal stylings - percussive disco but not too hard on the ears, this is along the lines of Bebel Gilberto.
The rhythm excitement does not let up on Track 2 Para Ti [Criancas Mix] by Malena - which is even more of a funky rhythmic workout with plenty of percussion, jazzy touches like flutes and a soulful souring female vocal.
Track 3 Maria [One Rascal Main Mix] by Bazeado is a harder funk number with some messed with male vocals in the mix.
Track 4 Nãoo Adianta by Trio Mocotó changes things up a bit with a cinematically orchestrated number with some afro- soul male vocals sun in unison. So far so good - each track has been flowing well - keeping the rhythmic spices rolling.
For me Tracks 5 and 6 do not work - but that is what they gave us the skip track button on cd players was for....This is really no matter because Track 7 blows everything away anyways - Riacho by Guem is an 8 and a half minute percussive workout and wow - all the rhythms are real - no machines used here - its amazing stuff indeed. one of the highest lights on the compilation.
The percussion continues to dominate on Track 8 Sãudãçao a Toco Preto by Candeia but this time it is an Afro-rock style reminding me of Fela Kuti - with the horn charts and low almost spoken male vocals and the call and response with the female background singers.
Track 9 Sebastiana by Jackson Do Pandeiro comes up as somewhat of a shock and what an amazing find it is too! Jackson Do Pandeiro (from the 50s) is known as one of the most original and influential Brazilian percussionist/singer ever and from hearing this one track I'd be mighty curious to hear a whole compilation by him.
Tracks 10 and 11 aren't bad at all but they did seem like somewhat generic funk to me.
Track 12 Como Um Sol [Brazilian Beat Mix] by Mr Hermano is yet another incredible highlight from this compilation - an extended jazz-funk workout with somewhat of the Bebel Gilberto vocal style again - but with more of an early 70s electric keyboard workout happening in the music.
Track 13 Música É by Jairzinho Olivera is a nice change of pace - a laidback rap - with a Brazilian 'beat' poet groove to it.
Track 14 Bob [Edu K Mix] by Otto is yet another highlight on this amazing disc - a remix that can not be beat - ending this compilation on an up note.