Fernando Holz: Minh' Alma Nua (My Nude Soul) (2004)
The phrase "smooth as silk" comes to mind on an initial listen to Brazilian-Bostonian Fernando Holz's Minh' Alma Nua (My Nude Soul). His vocal style, like that of fellow countryman Milton Nascimento, flows like a cool stream of crystalline water in front of an always crisp rhythm section, augmented by the lush harmonics of a string section.
The mix is perfectly done. Romero Lubambo, on guitar, counterpoints the clean seamless flow, adding an almost bluesy bite on his solo on "Diaspora Brasileira," while Paulo Braga—who is especially adept at the cymbal work—drops splashes of color into the mix; and pianist Rebecca Cline sprinkles delicate raindrops against the surface tension on "Outro Outono."
The finale, "Erika," a song of joyous love, showcase Holz's vocal talents with just Lumbambo's accoustic guitar on a sensuous up-tempo duet that I'd love to have seen them perform—such energy there.
The arrangemnts, by Zeca Barros, are superb, the use of strings done judiciously, whispering in at just the right momement before fading off to let the rhythm team and vocalist carry the show. A flawless production of the Brazilian jazz-pop sound.
Track Listing: Segredo De Laetitia, Noites Vazias, Freud Explica, A Verdade, Aprendiz, Diaspora Brasileira, Esacao, Outro Outono, Erica
Personnel: Fernando Holz--vocals; Gilson Schachalk--piano; Rebecca Cline--piano; Jose Pienasola--bass; Paulo Braga--drums; Mads Tolling, Reiko Nakano, Sarah Wilfong, Sarina Suno, Will Street--violins; Colin Belisle--viola; Fabrizio Mazzatta--cello