Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Ithamara Koorax: All Around the World

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
All Around the World represents several milestones for firebrand Brazilian vocalist Ithamara Koorax: It marks her twentieth release as a leader, celebrates the 25th year of her career, and, just like her first official release (Ithamara Koorax Live in Rio [1993, JVC]), All Around the World comes digitally straight from the soundboard, with no overdubs or other studio corrections.

Just as importantly, All Around the World truly embodies the global state of modern jazz. Koorax's band features many contributors from Brazil, including keyboardist Mario Castro-Neves and legendary percussionist Dom Um Romao, and its program features such famous Brazilian composers as Antonio Carlos Jobim ("Agua de Beber") and Marcos Valle ("Black is Beautiful"). But her ensemble also includes musicians from Asia (Japanese bassist Mitsuru K. Natsuka) and Europe (English multi-instrumentalist Mark Peterson and German keyboardist Ursula Lauren), and their repertoire also includes songs by American composers ranging from Richard Rodgers to Herbie Hancock to Jimi Hendrix.

Koorax and company fly directly into "Brazilian Birds/My Favorite Things" with a galloping rhythm from which her voice carves out the words "bites" and "stings" with its sharp and strong edges. Then they jump into the deep end of "Agua de Beber" with an inventive hip-hop arrangement that slows its flow into a very dramatic and dark, nearly theatrical piece; Koorax shreds the second verse with an agonized shriek for life-giving water, and chokes out her closing vocalese as if her parched throat has begun to clench and close up from the unrelenting desert heat.

Koorax's voice luxuriates in the melody of "Butterfly" (written by Hancock and Bennie Maupin to showcase Maupin's soprano sax on The Headhunters' seminal Thrust [1974, Columbia]), arranged to allow all the sweetness and light of her voice to rise up and float, then echo and trail the bass line like a hopeful lover. "Black Is Beautiful" is another showcase for the show-stopping power of her voice, and you can easily hear Patti Labelle sing this song, in this way, in this arrangement.

Her traditional closer, "Mas Que Nada/A Carrocinha Pegou," bounces on hip-hop, Caribbean, and Brazilian rhythms shot through with turntable scratches and vocal loops. Koorax stretches out with animal-like growls and shrieks and cries and whistles, punching toe-to-toe with just drums and percussion in an incredible display of free-flying vocal improvisation.

Koorax has dedicated All Around the World to two keyboardists and two percussionists with whom she frequently performed and recorded, and have recently passed on: Percussionists Gaudencio Thiago de Mello and Jadir de Castro, and keyboard players Rodgers Grant and Jose Roberto Bertrami, who founded Brazilian fusion superpower Azymuth and who performed with the singer for more than two decades.

Track Listing: Brazilian Birds/My Favorite Things; Agua de Beber (Water to Drink); Primavera; Butterfly; Human Nature; Black Is Beautiful; Cala Boca Menino; Brazilian Rhyme/What's Going On; Ela e Carioca (She's a Carioca); A Rã (The Frog); Up From the Skies; Mas Que Nada/A Carrocinha Pegou.

Personnel: Jay Berliner: guitar; José Roberto Bertrami: keyboards; Mario Castro-Neves: keyboards; Jadir de Castro: congas, percussion; Gaudencio Thiago De Mello: percussion; Eloir De Moares: congas, percussion; Arnaldo DeSouteiro: percussion, producer; Rodgers Grant: keyboards; Manuel Gusmão: bass; Mario Jansen: keyboards; Ithamara Koorax: vocals, percussion; Ursula Lauren: keyboards; Cesar Machado: drums; Hugh McCracken: guitar; Mitsuru K. Natsuka: bass; João Palma: drums, percussion; Mark Peterson: guitar, keyboards; Dom Um Romão: drums, percussion; Enio Santos: bass.

Title: All Around the World | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Jazz Vision Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Interviews
Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
Read more articles
All Around the World

All Around the World

Jazz Vision Records
2015

buy
All Around The World

All Around The World

Jazz Vision Records
2014

buy
Opus Classico

Opus Classico

Petrobras
2014

buy
Opus Classico

Opus Classico

Arte Nova
2013

buy
Ecstasy

Ecstasy

Jazz Vision Records
2013

buy
Ithamara Koorax Sings Getz/Gilberto

Ithamara Koorax Sings...

Jazz Vision Records
2013

buy

Related Articles

Read Caldera / Sky Islands Album Reviews
Caldera / Sky Islands
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 25, 2019
Read Baby, Please Come Home Album Reviews
Baby, Please Come Home
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Reckless Heart Album Reviews
Reckless Heart
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Fire Brigade Album Reviews
Fire Brigade
By Phillip Woolever
May 25, 2019
Read Day to Day Album Reviews
Day to Day
By Paul Naser
May 24, 2019
Read Theia Album Reviews
Theia
By Jim Worsley
May 24, 2019