Sue Maskaleris: Unbreakable Heart
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
She sings, she scats, she composes, she arranges, she plays piano, keyboards, percussion, recorder, and violin while she programs the synthesizer. Not all at once, of course, it just sounds like it. Sue Maskaleris is a very busy person on this her maiden album. This busyness permeates several of the tracks whose objective seems to be to create a myriad of multi dimensional aural sensations. But the result is that so much is going around Maskaleris as she tries to deliver her quite interesting mostly Brazilian influenced compositions that she and they are often overwhelmed (Maskaleris wrote or co-wrote all but two of the tunes on the CD). Too often, this becomes a distraction, working against the singer rather than with her. It's just hard to sort out the words from the melange of sound. Fortunately, the lyrics for her tunes are reprinted in the liner notes and you can follow along. But this is an inconvenience the listener should not be subjected to.
Now for the good news and there's lots of that. Maskaleris is extraordinarily talented, just bursting with it. There is much fun and intriguing music on this album played by extraordinary performers in addition Maskaleris. The back and forth between her and hip icon Mark Murphy on "Scat!" alone is worth the price of admission. On "The Love Within" the singer opens with just guitar in support and things stay relatively simple throughout the tune allowing one to appreciate the appealing sonority of the Maskaleris voice. "I Can't Cry over You Anymore" has a Motown feel and swings. "Younger Dreams" with quirky rhythmic patterns turns into a wild musical free for all filled with eerie ear catching melodies pushed along by Maskaleris, Doc Halliday, Eddie Gomez and Lenny White. It leaves one breathless.
I look forward to her next album where perhaps a bit more control can be exercised. Sometimes less is better. Till then, there's much to rejoice over in Unbreakable Heart. Visit Sue at her Internet home www.suemask.com.
Track Listing: Pajamasamba; Scat!; Unbreakable Heart; Child of Three; Mischief Night; The Love Within; I Can't Cry over You Anymore; A Love Sublime; Medley: Delgado/Sonhos Reciclados; No, But I Wish...; Younger Dreams; Never to Learn (Nunca Aprender); The Love Within (Reprise)
Personnel: Sue Maskaleris - Vocals/Keyboards/Piano/Violin/ Synthesizer/Whistle/Recorder/ Percussion/Arranger; Paul Meyers, Courtney Sappington - Guitar; David Sacks, Andrew Lippman - Trombone; Gregory Jones - Bass; Vanderlei Pereira - Drums/Percussion; Waltinho Anastacio - Percussion; Mark Murphy - Vocals*; Darmon Meader - Soprano, Alto & Tenor Saxophone/Vocals/Flute; Eddie Gomez, Rog
Record Label: Jazilian Records