To Masha Campagne, singer of Brazilian music, English as a second language was likely a necessity. However it was not Portuguese, but Russian, that was her native tongue. This new album gives a very good indication of how fluid her Portuguese is as she navigates the very tricky lyrics of Dorival Caymmi's "Doralice," originally sung by Joao Gilberto's on the famous collaboration Getz/Gilberto
(Verve, 1963), with tenor saxophonist Stan Getz..
Campagne was born in Russia and educated in Moscow. Her studies as well as her unusual family influence combined to provide her with a thirst for modern, international and jazz music. Campagne settled in San Francisco in 1991 and, while in high school, was transfixed by the Bossa Nova craze and notably the work of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto and Elis Regina. Her continued studies and meeting with pianist/arranger Weber Iago have resulted in Cahminhos Cruzados = Crossroads.
It would be difficult to guess that this is a fully American recording (with the exception of Iago) and, although there are no real surprises in the choice of material, there is almost a wave of nostalgia for the first generation Bossa Nova composers. Midway through the album is a Jobim medley that is just short of ten minutes, combining three classics: "So Tinha De Ser Com Voce, "Caminhos Cruzados, and "Samba De Aviao. Iago's skilled writing for strings provides not only continuity between the three songs but an interwoven suite-like sensibility.
Campagne opens and closes the album with songs from Djavan, and there are also two tunes from Guinga and Aldir Blanc. Just as the masters of this genre would have done, Campagne also adapts two examples of the Great American Songbook to fit into the samba life. Cole Porter's "So In Love" is given a turn, as is an up-tempo version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein show tune "It Might As Well Be Spring," recalling the efforts of a young Astrud Gilberto.
Personnel: Masha Campagne: vocals; Weber Iago: piano, arrangements; Harvey Wainapel: saxophones; Carlos Oliviera: acoustic guitar; Joanna Blendulf: cello; Dan Robbins: bass; Michael Spiro: percussion; Paul van Wageninger: drums; David Belove: electric bass; Rich Kuhns: accordion; Phil Thompson: drums; String quartet: Jessica Poll: 1st violin; John Fairweather: 2nd violin; Darcy Rindt: viola; Joanna Blendulf: cello.