Still trying to stay in tune with the ’70s, Cal Tjader joins forces with another refugee from another time, guitarist Charlie Byrd, for an album of contemporary Brazilian-flavored jazz. The alliance is forged mostly on Byrd’s terms, with bossa nova, samba, and percussive displays from Brazil’s interior dominating the grooves. After proving very adaptable to previous experiments, Tjader seems to be out in the cold in these settings, and he lays out a lot more often than usual here. Byrd rides along in his gentle, prickly-toned manner on acoustic and electric guitars, and the rhythm section shifts personnel and instruments from track to track.
Yet oddly enough, this is still a musically rich feast. Electric pianist Michael Wolff’s “Samba de Oneida” is marvelously propulsive, and “Tereza My Love,” one of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s most attractive sleepers, is a lovely rendition. The title track, written by Airto Moreira, is given an authentic, rambunctious Airto-style treatment, and is very much up-to-date, but Cal doesn’t sound totally comfortable with the rhythm on vibes, spending most of his time on timbales. Even though this isn’t prime Tjader, the overall quality of the music makes it a winner.