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Chieko Honda: Aquarelle

Geannine Reid By

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Japanese born Chieko Honda a jazz singer who now lives in New York City, is devoted to, and passionate about samba and Bossa nova music. Honda's voice is full, with many tangible qualities. She sings in a way that is charming and elegant in style. Aquarelle marks the first full-length album for Honda as a leader, composer, and lyricist. A Brazilian Samba vocal album that highlights her voice as a vehicle to convey beautiful melodies and authentic Latin rhythms. Containing twelve songs with three covers and nine originals, all sung in Portuguese and English, each is introduced in varied styles of Brazilian Samba such as: Maracatu, Baião, Marcha, Waltz, Axé, Partido Alto, Choro, Maxixe, and Bossa nova.

Her unique and warm voice surrounds you and will simply brighten your mood on selections like the title track. Her acoustic quartet supports her beautiful interpretations of Jobim's "Chega de Saudade." She delivers a fresh, new, personal, and creative way of interpreting this Latin standard. Sung in fluid Portuguese, she unfolds the melody with heart and passion. Mika does a fine job with accompaniment and soloing on this selection, always focusing on the storytelling, and is chalk full of musicality. Honda's originals are stellar and are a welcome characteristic of her choice of repertoire. "Misty Wind" is an excellent example of her grace a style as a composer and lyricist. The gorgeous melody lightly sways through the harmony as guitarist Cesar Garabini plays swirling single note passages around Honda's voice. Hadar Noiberg plays a soaring flute solo followed by Honda singing the lyrics in English, her lyrics are as positive and as uplifting as her voice is. "On The Crescent Moon," is another exemplary Honda original with the vocalist paired with soprano saxophonist Steve Wilson, whose tone and style are a well added choice to the tune.

Overall, Honda has highlighted an easy going, yet highly danceable and fun Latin offering with Aquarelle adding her well-conceived originals to the mix that augment well-chosen Latin standards, adds up to a highly listenable offering. Her voice is outstanding, no question, but additionally it is her ability to craft songs that must be mentioned and noted. These are not fluff tunes, but each stands alone as a testament to Honda ability as a composer and lyricist.

Track Listing: Aquarelle; Linda Flor Yaya; Prossiga; Maybe (for the baby); On The Crescent Moon; Esquece; Chega de Saudade; Misty Wind; Amanhã; Bloom; Bygone; Samba do Xando.

Personnel: Chieko Honda: vocals, compositions; Mika: piano; Cesar Garabini: 7 string guitar, vocal; Kahil Nayton: cavaquinho; Eduardo Belo: bass; Adriano Santos: drums; Luiz Ebert: drums; Rogerio Boccato: percussion; Hadar Noiberg: flute; Steve Wilson: soprano saxophone.

Title: Aquarelle | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

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