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Patty Ascher: Bossa, Jazz 'n' Samba

Dan Bilawsky By

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In addition to serving as an album title, Bossa, Jazz 'n' Samba could also serve as the defining mantra for a good portion of the albums on the Zoho Music label. While that company has released a wide variety of discs, covering Afro-Cuban cookers (Arturo O'Farrill), rock-solid blues (Ike Turner), and updated takes on the tango tradition (Pablo Aslan), Brazilian music of all shapes and sizes also makes up a significant part of its catalog. One side of this spectrum covers small group dialog that takes traditional Brazilian styles in a more modern direction, as demonstrated on records like Forests (Zoho Music, 2008) by the Brazilian Trio, but singer Patty Ascher's album is of a different sort.

Ten of Bossa, Jazz 'n' Samba's eleven tracks highlight Ascher's skills as a singer and songwriter, and nine different arrangers were tapped to dress each piece in attire that ranges from classy-to-casual. Ascher and her main collaborator, pianist Marco Pontes, cover the gamut from supper club sambas to Brazilian-tinged adult contemporary, and brevity is clearly a concern. Only one of these pieces cracks the four-minute barrier, allowing each song to make its mark without overstaying its welcome. The lone cover—a dolorous take on Michel Legrand's "The Summer Knows"—was arranged by two-time Grammy Award-winner Dori Caymmi, and his writing for strings adds volumes to the emotional content in this performance.

The original pieces can be wonderfully engaging in their casual nature and informal attire ("Sunrise") or polished to such an extent that they come off a bit trite or banal ("The Sun"), but the majority of the music falls somewhere in between these extremes. Ascher's energy and enthusiasm are palpable on the album opening "Springtime," and she is peppy-as-can-be on "Girls Just Want To Kiss." The former, featuring a killer piano solo from Pontes, proves to be an album highlight. "How Much I Care" hovers in mid-air, with a gorgeous and well-balanced arrangement from Gilson Peranzetta, and Ascher is all charm on this one. Pontes delivers a fine piano introduction for this piece and Ubaldo Versolate adds a syrupy-to-soulful saxophone solo that works well in this context.

Ascher's Portuguese is as purely attractive as her English, and she puts it to good use on the album's final two tracks. While Ascher lives up to her promise in providing bossa nova, jazz and samba, she goes one better by delivering music that straddles multiple styles and holds high appeal for an audience that likes its Brazilian music, jazz and pop in equal parts.

Track Listing: Springtime; The Summer Knows; Girls Just Want To Kiss; Booking Time; How Much I Care; The Winter; Saudade; Sunrise; The SUn; Talvez; Pela Manhã.

Personnel: Patty Ascher: vocals; Marco Pontes: piano; Ronaldo Rayol: acoustic guitar; Roberto Menescal: guitar; Ubaldo Versolate: saxophone, flute; Eric Budney: bass; Nahame Casseb: drums.

Title: Bossa, Jazz 'N' Samba | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Zoho Music


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