All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Joyce Moreno: Cool

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Cool is the album that Brazilian singer-songwriter Joyce Moreno simply refused to make for decades. "For over 20 years I've been requested to make an album with North American jazz standards. Nothing against it, but I always said no," she explains. "I had the strange feeling that such an album would look weird in my discography, too commercial—like I didn't have any new tricks up my sleeve, and yes, I always have plenty. Music has never ceased to bless me with new ideas and new tunes. So why on earth should I embark on such a trip?"

"The answer came to me during a soundcheck when I started playing, just for fun, a Cole Porter song in a different way," Moreno continues. "The song was 'Love For Sale,' a song about a demimondaine—a hooker, in short. But then this afoxé groove came up, and, all of a sudden, Cole Porter's call girl became a hooker from Bahia. And I thought, 'Man, these tunes can be rearranged and be really fun!'"

Moreno's spry Brazilian workout of "Love for Sale" became the first track on Cool, which also features her percussive, syncopated up-tempo take on another Porter classic, "Let's Do It." But it's the slow and soft songs that turn up the heat throughout. Curiously quiet yet vibrant and steamy, this reconstructed "Fever" emerges as a tropical Brazilian jungle. "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" transforms into a lonesome guitar ballad, her voice floating on the phrase "Day-O" as light as moonlight, with drums and piano slowly creeping into her accompaniment like daybreak silently but steadily overgrowing darkness. She again whispers this contemplative mood in the echoes of "'Round Midnight."

Moreno can thank the composers' pantheon of Mandel, Mancini and Mercer for Cool's most brilliant moments. In her self-accompanied rumination on "Moon River," her vocal and guitar illuminate the beauty in every corner of a melody and lyric that needs no help to sound perfect. She pours out this same mood in "The Shadow of Your Smile." "I used the original chart given to me by author Johnny Mandel himself (years ago he invited me to one of his projects and we interacted musically)," Moreno explains. "But in order to expose the beauty of this song—sometimes looked at as a bit too mellow, performed with exaggerated sentimentalism—I opted for the 'extra-slow' mode and sang it as cool as I possibly could."

"This album was my own arranger's approach to these jazz standards," Moreno's liner notes conclude. "I had a lot of fun doing it. I hope listeners will feel the same."

Track Listing: Love For Sale; Fever; Cool; Day-O (The Banana Boat Song); Let’s Do It Let’s Fall In Love; Round Midnight; Invitation; The Shadow of Your Smile; Mingus, Miles and Coltrane; You Do Something To Me; Nature Boy; My Favorite Things; Moon River.

Personnel: Joyce Moreno: vocals, guitar, arrangements; Tutty Moreno: drums, percussion; Helio Alves: piano; Rodolfo Stroeter: bass; Tomaz Andrade: vocals; Anna Coelho: vocals; André Miranda: vocals.

Title: Cool | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Far Out Recordings


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Cool by Chris M. Slawecki
  • Cool by C. Andrew Hovan
Read more articles


Far Out Recordings



Far Out Recordings



Far Out Recordings


Related Articles

Read Peaks of Light CD/LP/Track Review
Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Denmark I Was Born CD/LP/Track Review
In Denmark I Was Born
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983 CD/LP/Track Review
In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read A Year Ago Today CD/LP/Track Review
A Year Ago Today
by Doug Collette
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Dreams of Belonging CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams of Belonging
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Ravensburg CD/LP/Track Review
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Asteroidea" CD/LP/Track Review Asteroidea
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 9, 2017
Read "Cycles of Animation" CD/LP/Track Review Cycles of Animation
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "Magnetic" CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 27, 2017
Read "Prototype" CD/LP/Track Review Prototype
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Wake Up Call" CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Just Left of Center" CD/LP/Track Review Just Left of Center
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 7, 2017