Some of the most original and vibrant jazz played today comes not from New York or Chicago but rather from a much warmer climate: Latin America. Musicians such as pianist Adrian Iaies and guitarist Guillermo Bazzola are taking the idioms of America's so-called classical music and infusing it with new life via a Latin sensibility, creating arresting and haunting records of great beauty. Add to this list Eleonora Eubel, a talented singer who can not only interpret standards with delicacy and taste but also has a knack for writing original compositions that fit in comfortably with the canon. Consider the slow swagger of tunes like "It Ain't Necessarily So" and "Caravan" (both highlights of the album) next to originals like "Running For Your Love" and "Black Mirror", both melancholy songs of longing with breezy percussion and deftly plucked guitar. Like these, most songs here have a steady Latin rhythm which gives even well worn originals like "Love For Sale" a fresh coat of paint. Bazzola, whose nebulous, swirling accompaniment is used to good effect here with Gunta's percussion, is given plenty of room to shine in what amounts to a somewhat spare backing for a singer. Instead of an orchestra or even a jazz combo, most songs are accompanied solely by bass, guitar, and percussion (with a few horns and piano occasionally darting in and out) allowing Eubel's sumptuous and robust vocals to come to the foreground. Eubel is quite a singer; she can swing like mad by relaxing the beat a bit and has a pitch you could tune a piano to. Confident in her abilities, Eubel runs through "Speak Low" backed solely by Roberto Tormo's jumpy bass lines. This is a fantastic album by a talented singer and composer who has a lot yet to offer us.
Track Listing: Running For Your Love, It Ain't Necessarily So, Good Morning Heartache, Black Mirror, One For Eddie, Speak Low, Love For Sale, Jack the Ripper, Cry Me A River, Caravan, Cradle Song, Nature Boy, Bye Bye Blackbird.
Personnel: Eleonora Eubel, vocals; Guillermo Bazzala, guitars; Fernando Galimany, Roberto Tormo, Rudolfo Paccapelo, bass; Oscar Gunta, drums; Rodrigo Dominguez, sax; Jorge Navarro, piano; Yeye Lopez, percussion; Eduardo Manentti, trombone.
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.