This is the long-awaited first recording for "Sabor Brasil, the Brazilian jazz group that's been delighting American audiences since 1991. It's also a sampling of the considerable talents of Susan Pereira, which include singing, composing, arranging, producing, and playing both piano and percussion. But this ain't no vanity project: Pereira is an exceptionally gifted musician who sings with grace and perfect pitch, plays with passion and flair, and writes beautifully. Her band melds the rhythms of Brazil with the sensibilities of jazz and, propelled by exciting drummer Vanderlei Pereira, swings on everything it plays. The party also includes honored guests Claudio Roditi on trumpet, Romero Lubambo on guitar, and Hendrik Meurkens on harmonica.
Tudo Azul (All Blue) refers to the Brazilian saying that "everything's cool, and it's a perfect title for a CD full of sunshine and irresistible grooves. Half the tunes are Pereira's, bringing the spirit of rain forests and samba parades to the city. Along with the rocking "West End P.A. and "Ascensao," and the jubilant title track, she also wrote a classic call-and-response chant ("Maracakim ) for a loved colleague, Kimson Plaut, who drowned. It's a moving ceremony, since everyone singing on the track was a friend of his, and the deep drumming on the traditional maracatu rhythm is hypnotic.
Among the remaining five tracks are a relatively rare Jobim ("O Morro ), a popular Milton Nascimento tune ("Nada Sera Como Antes ) and a sweet take on "Our Day Will Come that features a beautiful Lubambo solo. The session ends with a sensuous version of Ary Barroso's famous "Na Baixa do Sapateiro and a strong need to hit "repeat on the CD player. It's a wonderful release, beautifully played and produced, and an absolute must-have for fans of Brazilian jazz.
Personnel: Susan Pereira: vocals, piano, percussion; Louis Bonilla: trombone; Dario Eskenazi: piano; Laura Dreyer: alto and soprano sax, flute, alto flute; Mark Lambert: electric guitar; Kip Reed: bass; Leo Traversa, Itaiguara: bass; Scott Kettner: percussion; Joe Cardello: percussion; Philip Galinsky: percussion; Vanderlei Pereira: drums, percussion; Marco Figueira: background vocals; Mark Lambert: background vocals; Kerry Linder: background vocals; Analu Pereira: background vocals; Susana Ribeiro: background vocals; Rob Blumenthal: background vocals; Napua Davoy: background vocals; Jenny Hill: background vocals; Todd Isler: background vocals; Itaiguara, Marianni: background vocals; Vanderlei Pereira: background vocals; John Romagnoli: background vocals; Devorah Segall: background vocals; Luiz Simas: background vocals. Guests: Romero Lubambo: acoustic guitar; Claudio Roditi: trumpet; Hendrik Meurkens: harmonica.