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Masha Campagne: Like Water, Like Air

Edward Blanco By

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Moscow-born/San Francisco-based vocalist Masha Campagne's highly anticipated Like Water, Like Air follows her exciting debut, Caminhos Cruzados—Crossroads (Self Produced, 2007), building on a strong foundation of gorgeous Brazilian music. A devotee of the genre, Campagne continues her longtime association with piano master Weber Iago—a guiding force of her first endeavor and co-producer of this date—in crafting another beautiful portrait of the Brazilian sound.

While delivering new and outstanding renditions of such standards and classics like "It Could Happen To You," Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Outra Vez" and Bronislaw Kaper oft-recorded "Invitation," among others, the vocalist also contributes several originals for a nicely packaged and delightfully tasteful blend of old and new material. Along with Iago Campagne reunites with San Francisco reed man Harvey Wainapel, who lends his alto saxophone to "Se E Tarde Me Perdoa," the brightest moment of the album, as well as contributing bass clarinet to "No Fundo Do Rio."

With harmonicist/vibraphonist Hendrik Meurkens on several pieces, there is simply no question that this is a Brazilian project. Meurkens' harmonica is especially appropriate on the title track. Elsewhere, Brazilian guitarist Guinga joins Campagne on "Exasperada,," a tender duet in which the vocalist sings in Portuguese (as she does throughout the album). Percussionist Luis Carlos Guello contributes his unique talent to Guinga's "No Fondo Do Rio," rounding out the Brazilian personnel of the disc.

Though an impressive Brazilian cast makes this project that much more engaging, this is still Campagne's album; with her silky vocals rising above the musical accompaniment, the songbird takes high flight here, leaving no doubt who's in charge, while strong performances on "Broke But Rich," and "Invitation" render her vocal skills crystal clear. Campagne's talent as a composer should also not overlooked; with four originals to sample, none is as challenging as "Mystery Unwrapped," revealing the singer's clear gift with a pen.

The songstress closes this sophomore effort with a tender and delicate duet; on Iago's "I Can See You Now," she unchains her passion and reach, supported by the pianist's dazzling performance. Campagne is a powerful vocalist with an expressive approach whose command of the Brazilian style in amply on display on Like Water, Like Air, another compelling musical statement from one of the best kept secrets in the genre.

Track Listing: It Could Happen To You; Outra Vez; Broke But Rich; No Fundo Do Rio; Invitation; My Heart Was Lost & Found For You; Exasperada; Like Water, Like Air; Se E Tarde Me Perdoa; Mystery Unwrapped; I can See You Now.

Personnel: Masha Campagne: vocals; Guinga: acoustic guitar (4, 7), spoken word (4); Hendrik Meurkens: vibraphone (3, 10), harmonica (2, 8); Weber Iago: piano, Fender Rhodes; Harvey Wainapel: bass clarinet (4), alto saxophone (9); Jeff Buenz: electric guitar (5), nylon string guitar (2, 8); Dan Robbins: acoustic bass, electric bass; Jason Lewis: drums; Michael Spiro: percussion (5, 9); Guello: percussion (4).

Title: Like Water, Like Air | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Impetus Records

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