Jason Mileskeyboardist, pianist and produceris on a roll. Fresh from producing Celebrating The Music Of Weather Report for Telarc, Miles again celebrates music that inspired him. Again, the music that Miles celebrates crosses indefinable boundaries as it slips between genres While calling Weather Report's music "fusion" may reduce it to a more easily categorized status, calling Ivan Lins' music "Brazilian" restricts its universality.
Jobim's and Bonfa's music introduced the broad American public to dense and shifting internal harmonies, even as the melodies sometimes remained within a narrow range (e.g., "The Girl From Ipanema"). Lins' music revels in singability. Among all of the Brazilian composers, romance, depth of feeling and optimism prevail.
So, A Love Affair: The Music Of Ivan Lins ignores lines of definition and division as it evolves into a pop tune like Chaka Khan's "So Crazy For This Love," Brenda Russell's R&B interpretation of "Nocturne" or Grover Washington, Jr.'s Winelight-ish "Chamaleao."
Now all of this may leave jazz purists scratching their collective head or knee-jerking their disapproval. If so, that reaction should relate to the music's execution, and not content, for those who prefer ramparts along linear paths of musical exploration. While one can marvel at a Betty Carter microtonism or the inimitable scatting power of Ella, there's no denying the gorgeousness of Brenda Russell's voice or the fun of Chaka Khan's call-and-response.
The danger of popularizing Lins' music is that it simplifies its richness. The New York Voices' development of "Answered Prayers," referring as always to the Clare Fischer and/or Gene Puerling vocal arranging innovations, conveys the music's use of broad intervals and close harmonies as they modulate as a single unit.
Lins himself concludes the album by singing in Portuguese "Somos Todos Iquais Nesta Noite," finally bringing the music home.