All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

198

Monica Vasconcelos: Hih

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Based in London since the early 1990s, the Brazilian singer and composer Monica Vasconcelos has an enchanting presence which brings sunshine and good vibes to every stage she graces, even in the cold grey depths of a London winter. And she has a voice to match.

Since 1996, Vasconcelos has released five albums with her nine-piece band Nois and its stripped down cousin, Nois 4. Both line-ups have featured, and made much of the interplay between, saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and guitarist Ife Tolentino. Hih—as in "high," Vasconcelos preferring the appearance of the shorter, symmetrical spelling—is something of a departure.

Released under Vasconcelos' own name, Tolentino is not present on Hih, while Laubrock is heard on only one track. Instead, keyboard player Steve Lodder, a regular Nois nonet colleague, is in effect co-leader—producing the album, replacing Tolentino's guitar in the backing arrangements, co-writing six of the songs, and taking most of the instrumental solos.

On two tracks, "Out Of The Doldrums" and "Still In The Dark," Hih also features the vocals and co-writing of Robert Wyatt, returning an earlier guest artist favor from Vasconcelos.

The focus on Lodder's keyboards, rather than Tolentino's guitar and its vibrant Brazilian rhythms, brings a more overtly jazz- based flavor to Vasconcelos' music, which sheds a little of its samba-informed character in the process. In an interview in the British press for Hih, Vasconcelos asked, rhetorically, why she would base herself in London if she wanted to work exclusively with Brazilian musicians and Brazilian song forms.

The most Nois-ish track is probably the opener, "Nega Deleite," in which Vasconcelos' guitar is relatively prominent, and which also features some lovely violin from Felipe De Souza. Laubrock, of course, also brings Nois to mind with her bittersweet solo on "Out Of The Doldrums."

Wyatt is an empathetic guest, whose quirky, instantly recognizable voice sits perfectly with the band. On "Still In The Dark," Lodder plays harmonium behind Wyatt's vocals, making the shroomy Canterbury scene resonances even more pronounced.

Hih could be seen as Vasconcelos' attempt to reach out to a wider audience than she has previously enjoyed— but it has as much musical integrity as her Nois albums, and all of her considerable charm.

Track Listing: Nega Deleite; Arquitetura; Coisa De Fome; Out Of The Doldrums; Fogu E Sal; Hih; Lagrimas Negras; Disritmia; Sunshine Vignette; Still In The Dark; Pedro; Oracao.

Personnel: Monica Vasconcelos: vocals, guitar; Steve Lodder: keyboards, piano, harmonium; Dudley Phillips: electric bass, double bass; Adriano Adewale: percussion; Ricardo Mosca: drums (2,6); Dudu Fonseca: drums (4,7); Felipe De Souza: violin (1); Ingrid Laubrock: soprano saxophone (4); Beth Amin: backing vocals (1-3,5,8,12); Robert Wyatt: backing vocals (4,10).

Title: Hih | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Movas

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Suite 150 / A Big Band Portrait CD/LP/Track Review
Suite 150 / A Big Band Portrait
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 16, 2018
Read Lost Days CD/LP/Track Review
Lost Days
by Don Phipps
Published: August 16, 2018
Read Cabin In The Sky CD/LP/Track Review
Cabin In The Sky
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 16, 2018
Read Higher CD/LP/Track Review
Higher
by Jim Trageser
Published: August 16, 2018
Read Faroe CD/LP/Track Review
Faroe
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2018
Read The Darkness Of A Fairy Tale CD/LP/Track Review
The Darkness Of A Fairy Tale
by Gareth Thompson
Published: August 15, 2018
Read "25th Anniversary Project" CD/LP/Track Review 25th Anniversary Project
by Geannine Reid
Published: February 22, 2018
Read "Love Letters" CD/LP/Track Review Love Letters
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "Night Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Night Concert
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 18, 2018
Read "RFK Stadium 1989 Box" CD/LP/Track Review RFK Stadium 1989 Box
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Currents, Constellations" CD/LP/Track Review Currents, Constellations
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 14, 2018
Read "Inspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Inspiration
by Chris May
Published: May 6, 2018