Sabrina Lastman: The Candombe Jazz Sessions (2012)
The Candombe Jazz Sessions reflects Sabrina Lastman gift of storytelling. It does not matter if it is an improvised wordless tale, a poetic interpretation sung in Spanish or Portuguese, or her thoughts put to music. It is always a vivid story, full of passionate dramatic nuances, elegance and charm and with a touch of irony.
This album also present Lastman's eclectic tastes as an artist who was born in Montevideo, Uruguay (where she studied classical singing and piano), migrated to Jerusalem, Israel, where she studied jazz, and then settled in New York, where she studies with experimental vocal artist Meredith Monk and began to reassess her own culture in general and the Afro-Uruguayan candombe in particular.
She begins with the playful "Axis," a wordless original that sounds at first like paying homage to Steve Reich's repetitive modules but spiced with Latin tinge. The track features the emphatic interplay of her working quartet. "Circular" is another playful song, where Lastman stages her own poem in a mini-drama, with a beautiful solo segment by bassist Pablo Aslan.
"Color de Arena," based on a poem by Uruguayan poet, Washinton Benavides, and arranged for a string quartet, is full of heartfelt yearnings. Lastman uses her vocals as a percussive instrument when she presents the candombe sound with her shining version of Uruguayan singer-percussionist Rubén Rada's "Tengo un Candombe para Gardel." She continues with a duet featuring percussionist David Silliman on "Brisca Frisca," which features her amazing vocal range, her experimental attitude with pure sound singing, and her arresting ability to tell a story with each syllable.
Her interpretation of Egberto Gismonti "Água e Vinho," with lyrics by Geraldo E. Carneiro (both Brazilians), stress the melancholic melody and story with touching restraint. Lastman delivers another emotional performance of the Uruguayan lullaby "Zea Mais." "A Lo Lejos" is the most conventional jazz composition here. Lastman's wordless vocals, her quartet and guest trumpeter Alexander Norris, all improvise with candombe groove, with impressive solos by Aslan, Norris and Silliman. Her own "Deep Inside" continues the flirtation between jazz and candombe.
Lastman closes this journey with a stunning solo vocal performance, "Cilada Verbal," a poem by Brazilian poet Romano de Sant'Anna. The Candombe Jazz Sessions is a beautiful and daring journey, full of surprises and experiences.
Track Listing: Axis; Circular; Color de Arena; Tengo un Candombe para Gardel; Brisa Fresca; Agua E Vinho; A Lo Lejos; Zea Mais; Deep Inside; Cilada Verbal.
Personnel: Sabrina Lastman: vocals; Emilio Solla: piano; Pablo Aslan: double bass; David Silliman: drums, percussions; Alexander Norris: trumpet (7); Meg Okura: violin (1, 3); Dave Eggar: cello (3, 6); Ernesto VillaLobos: violin (3); Daphna Mor: recorders (8); Arturo Prendez: Candombe drum piano (4);Manuel Silva: Candombe drum repique (4); Fabricio Teodoro: Candombe drum chico (4).