Recording information: Tenda Da Raposa, Rio De Janeiro.
Arranger: Marcos Valle.
The early-2000s renaissance of Marcos Valle was a delight for his fans, especially those who had long held onto hopes that they'd hear more to rival his late-'60s and early-'70s prime. Curiously quiet after a 2005 live album, though, it seemed that Valle had gone back into hibernation. He returned with a bang, however, on 2010's Est tica, which is nearly everything his fans had been looking for. The songwriting is bright and memorable, the production style unifies the best of his sunny late-'60s style and his innovative early-'70s prime, and Valle's strong personality is at the center of it all. (The latter is especially welcome, since he'd seemed relatively detached on some of his 2000s records.) The opening "Vamos Sambar" simply sparkles, its summery samba groove energized with soft strings and brass -- even finding time for a brief, irresistibly melancholy bridge. Second track "Prefixo" is mostly an instrumental, though it features Valle's deep nasal speaking voice. "Papo de Maluco" is a male/female duet, conjuring visions of his duet classics like "Crickets Sing for Anamaria" and "Batucada." "Novo Acorde" even has the analog synthesizers that Valle used to great effect on records like Garra and Previsao do Tempo. With songwriting, performance, and production all coming at such a peak this late in his career, it becomes clear that Est tica is not only a delightful record, and not just a record that finds him sounding more natural than he has in years -- it's the first masterpiece of Valle's comeback years. ~ John Bush
Down Beat (p.65) - "Valle can still write timeless-sounding sambas in his sleep...his band evokes that classic, chill Rio vibe."