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Recent projects with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and bassist Ron Carter have given Brazilian vocalist/guitarist Rosa Passos wider and much deserved recognition. With the release of Amorosa, the long time queen of Brazilian bossa nova has offered up one of the most titillating CDs of the year.
Amorosa features new arrangements of songs associated with Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto, two seminal figures in the creation of bossa nova from samba and jazz. But most importantly, it allows Passos to highlight vocal and instrumental skills that exude a cultured yet innocent sensuality. Ms. Passos has chosen wisely in keeping percussionist Cyro Baptista as part of her ensemble. His rhythms, along with work by drummer Paulo Braga, pianist Helio Alves and bassist Paulo Palulelli, set up a delicate backdrop for her perfect guitar and quietly enchanting vocals as she conveys the graceful interplay of emotions that make bossa nova so alluring. Joining the core rhythm section on various cuts is Rodrigo Ursaia, who, like Stan Getz, shows how sax and bossa nova were made for each other. Likewise, clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera artfully blends a touch of swing with these rhythms on the bouncy "O Pato."
It is Passos, however, who through her combination of vocal quality and ideal phrasing, be it on pieces like the smoothly self-composed tribute "Essa E Pr'o Joáo," the quickly moving "Eu Sambo Mesmo," or her lushly romantic rendering of the classic "Besame Mucho" turns this into such an arresting session. Bonuses include a duet with 87-year-old French vocalist Henri Salvador and an appearance by Yo-Yo Ma on Jobim's "Chega De Saudade."
Track Listing: 01. Voce Vai Ver
03. Besame Mucho
04. Pra Que Discutir Com Madame
05. Lobo Bobo
06. O Pato
07. Retrato Em Branco e Preto
08. Eu Sambo Mesmo
09. Esse e Pro Joao
10. Que Resta-T-ll De Nos Amores
11. S' Wonderful
12. Chega de Sadaude
Personnel: Rosa Passos (vocals, guitar), Paquito D'Rivera (clarinet), Rodrigo Ursaia (saxophone), Helio Alves (piano), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Paulo Paulelli (bass), Paulo Braga (drums), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Henri Salvador (vocals)
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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