How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Singer Rosa Ena Campos does not let musical boundaries confine her vision. She goes beyond the obvious to meld style and genres to hone her vocal and interpretive skills.
Campos's first foray into music came through learning classical clarinet. That boundary was usurped by improvisational singing into which she wove jazz, bossa nova and Indian classical music. The strands may seem disparate, but the artist in Campos brings them all together with remarkable fluidity and grace.
For her debut, Campos bookends a selection of compositions by Antonio Carlos Jobim
with two of her own. "The Flamenca Weeper" sets the momentum, her voice delving into its Middle Eastern melody, spiced by a deep passion in her voice that she augments with wordless improvisations. More magical moments follow, as her words take shape, shaded by the blues; the transition is neat and captivating.
"Con-fusion" takes her into another pet territory, Indian classical music. The singer and the song carry it very well, indeed. Her intonation and accentuating of konakkol is pitch-perfect and, in tandem with scatting, she infuses a rich hue into the song.
Camposalso has her way with Jobim. Pianist Polo Orti sets "Dindi" on its way; he is the perfect cohort for the singer, as she initially moulds the tune into a ballad before breaking out and swinging. Her change of pitch and husky vocals turn out to be the signposts of freedom and structure.
"Corcovado" resonates in the sensitivity of Campos's singing, as she never lets the moment eclipse good taste, a facet that is also seen in Luismo Valladares' neat and open bass playing.
Campos is both fervent and lyrical as she explores timeless classics and brings to the fore her own skills as singer and composer. In sum, this is a distinctive debut.
Track Listing: The Flamenca Weeper; Throw It Away; Dindi; Modinha; Corcovado; How Insensitive; O Pato; Retrato em Branco e Preto; Con-fusion.
Personnel: Rosa Ena Campos: voice; Polo Ortí: piano; Luismo Valladares: bass; Javier Pérez: percussion.