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PREVIEW Gilberto Gil @ Nokia Theatre (3.11.10) NY Times

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Monday March 08, 2010

Ben Ratliff (from the New York Times)

It would be nice to say that GILBERTO GIL, the Brazilian singer-songwriter, has been exemplary, except that his example isn’t easy to follow, even for himself. He’s often best performing alone, singing brilliant words in a soft and spirited voice about language, love, philosophy and technology in clear Portuguese diction, putting a heavy samba-swing thumb into his bossa-nova fingerpicking. Even by himself he can overdo it, breaking the spell by having almost too much fun, or overinvesting in Beatles or Bob Marley covers for American audiences. Still, I’ll take it: I’ve seen him generate more joy, and more spookily beautiful, time-freezing moments than most other performers of any kind, without any inflation of persona. (As well as everything else, he’s one of the most sensible pop stars you will encounter from a distance.) His latest record, “Bandadois,” just released in the United States, is a live career retrospective, mostly solo voice and guitar, and it’s excellent. He’ll be casting a similarly wide trawl across the last 40 years or so of his work at Nokia Theater, accompanied by only two other musicians: his son, the guitarist Bem Gil, and the cellist Jaques Morelenbaum. Thursday at 8 p.m., 1515 Broadway, at 44th Street, nokiatheatrenyc.com ; $50 to $80.