Although this three-CD compilation of Brazilian music offers material by several major performers and samples several different styles, it's far from the definitive guide the title might lead one to anticipate. When a CD (disc one of this set) that's titled "Bossa Nova -- The 60s Revolution" includes versions of "The Girl From Ipanema" and "Desafinado" -- not by the original singers of those classic tunes, but 2004 versions by relatively anonymous performers (with instrumentation played by non-Brazilian musicians) -- frankly, that's not a promising sign. That approach is not entirely typical of this set, but certainly the compilation seems to lack the get-up-and-go cross-licensing that would make this the, or even one of the "essential" surveys of Brazilian music. It does offer cuts by some genuine big names in the genre, including Chico Buarque, Astrud Gilberto, Gilberto Gil, Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 (they might not be too critically respected, but they were certainly big), Caetano Veloso, Azymuth, and Airto DeMoreira and Flora Purim. Too, it's split into thematically constructed separate discs -- one for bossa nova, one for samba, and one for the most modern fusions of Brazilian and contemporary styles -- that might help the neophyte get a grip on the diversity of Brazilian sounds. The chronological balance, however, is pretty shaky -- the earliest cuts reach back to the 1960s, but the selections definitely tilted toward tracks cut relatively shortly before this 2005 release. The quality's inconsistent as well, some of the tracks veering toward easy listening slickness and gratuitous incorporation of modern beats and technology. It's really the best half of this that would make a better "taster" anthology of sorts. Numbers comprising that better half would include the lengthy percussive workouts of Bob Azzam ("Batucada Por Favor") and Airto DeMoreira & Flora Purim ("Tomba"), Astrud Gilberto's "Agua de Beber," and "Samba de Uma Nota So" by Stan Getz -- who wasn't Brazilian, certainly, but did a lot to bring bossa nova to the American and European audience.