Anna Estrada: Obsesion (2009)
Laughter is said to be the best medicine, but music can be quite soothing as well. Anna Estrada, an emergency room physician, heals with a collection of love songs on Obsesion, her second release.
The Bay Area vocalist studied medicine instead of fine arts. But with a mother who sang, music became her second calling. Accompanied by a variable lineup that includes co-producer Ray Scott on guitar, Estrada shares the love in a variety of ways.
Damient Masterson plays harmonica to add a little seasoning to "Carta Ao Tom 74." Jonathan Alford's piano and Alex Baum's bass are fluid in the background. Estrada's lead is charming if not impressive. She complements the instruments more so than the other way around. Drummer Phil Thompson mixes in some effective rim shots during solos by Masterson and Alford.
The lively title song features a two-piece horn section of Charlie McCarthy on saxophone and Wayne Wallace on trombone. The latter performs a throaty solo over some sharp interplay among Alford, Baum, Thompson, and percussionist Michaele Goerlitz. McCarthy's screeching solo sets up Estrada's sassy, yet delightful closing sequence. "Flor Sin Retono" features a rumbling piano solo, bracketed by Estrada's lead. The music is part tango, part Mexican ballad.
Obsesion is an eclectic mix of songs that sing of love, whether it be about romance, friendship, or patriotism. Estrada sings them in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Even though they've been done before, these arrangements ensure there is no sense of been there, done that. And though this is a vocalist's album, each piece includes an instrumental break, if not a solo.
Track Listing: La Mentira; Nature Boy; Carta Ao Tom 74; Obsesion; Llorona; Upa Neguinho; Flor Sin Retono; Always Something There to Remind Me; Soledad; Adeus America.
Personnel: Anna Estrada: vocals; Ray Scott: guitar (1-3, 6, 8-10); Alex Baum: bass (1-8, 10); Jonathan Alford: piano (1-7, 10); Phil Thompson: drums (1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10); Michaele Goerlitz: percussion (1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10); Raul Ramirez: dumbek and cajon (2, 5, 7); Damien Masterson: harmonica (3, 5); Charlie McCarthy: saxophone (1, 4); Tommy Kesecher: vibraphone (8); Chuck Bennett: trombone (1); Wayne Wallace: trombone (4).
Record Label: Feral Flight Productions