Gilberto Gil, Sunday, September 5, at Jazz Aspen at Snowmass, Tuesday, September 7, at the Fox Theatre in Boulder and Wednesday, September 8, at the Gothic Theatre in Denver, has taken his Fifties inspiration from fellow Brazilian and bossa nova legend Joao Gilberto several quantum leaps further. The guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter -- along with cohorts including Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé and Gal Costa -- spearheaded the short-lived, politically charged Tropicalia movement in the late Sixties. The Tropicalistas mixed various indigenous styles, electric pop fragments from the U.S. and Britain, radical performance art and clever ornamental effects. Though people like Beck and David Byrne still champion the vital effort, it led Gil and Veloso to jail and exile in the early Seventies. Upon his return to Brazil in 1972, however, Gil rose to superstardom on the back of his borderless pop compositions and rubbery, excitable vocal style. African, reggae and many other tangents have supported his stylistic exploration along the way. Though some of his fusion can be overly sweet and sugary, it always maintains the edge so painfully missing in North American conceptions of fusion. Touring behind 1998's Quanta Live, a followup to 1997's Quanta, the upcoming concerts offer a rare chance to appreciate a musically adventurous, outspoken champion of the global music community. -- Thomas Peake
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