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Ithamara Koorax: Love Dance: The Ballad Album

Chris M. Slawecki By

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Ithamara Koorax has released several albums in Brazil and Japan, but Love Dance is only the second US album for this star from Rio, the follow-up to her debut Serenade in Blue.

With her unmistakable voice, Koorax sings English, Portuguese, and Spanish love songs composed by such masters as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfá, Marcos Valle and Ivan Lins, plus songs by Claus Ogerman and Jurgen Friedrich (in German). Her voice manifests this diversity to its advantage: Koorax does not sound like a Brazilian singer or an American singer or a jazz singer or a pop or Latin singer. She sounds like she can sing just about anything.

Subtitle this set “The Dedication Album”: the soothing and seductive opening version of Jobim’s “Ligia” is dedicated to Stanley Turrentine; “Man Alone” to Jimmy Scott; “Blauauge,” a duet with composer Friedrich on piano, to Art Farmer; and the title track to Mark Murphy (whose 1988 Milestone session, September Ballads, inspired this Dance ).

With "Love Dance," performed with Azymuth, Koorax transforms one of Brazilian composer Ivan Lins’ finest moments into one of her own finest moments, too. She sails with this smooth fusion band, letting the last few notes of a phrase throatily fade in a husky whisper (like Stan Getz on sax), sharpening and rounding notes’ edges, then exploding like brilliant sunlight to close. Love Dance also features John McLaughlin’s first date supporting a vocalist (“Man Alone”) and album notes by Ira Gitler, neither honor a small one.

Track Listing: Ligia; I Loved You; Love Dance; La Puerta; Man Alone; Amparo: Someday: Flame (O Amor

Personnel: Ithamara Koorax (vocals) with John McLaughlin, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Luiz Bonfa, Jurgen Friedrich, Azymuth, Mario Castro-Neves, Marcos Valle, Jo

Title: Love Dance: The Ballad Album | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz

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