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Claudia Villela

Claudia Villela’s voice gets all the attention, and it’s easy to understand why. Her glorious five-octave instrument is one of the wonders of jazz, lithe and startlingly beautiful in every register. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, she sings mostly in Portuguese, interpreting lyrics with keen emotional insight and supple rhythmic command. A supremely inventive scat singer, she has honed a vivid vocabulary of sounds that can evoke the hollow thump of a tabla drum, the muted trumpet ofMiles Davis, the insistent twang of a berimbau, the ethereal call of a flute, or the distortion-laden Stratocaster licks of Jimi Hendrix. Based in the Santa Cruz area since the mid-1980s, Villela has evolved into an expressive pianist and percussionist and an ingenious composer and lyricist with an astonishing body of original material, as well as a repertoire of jewels from the Brazilian songbook. Inspired by Brazilian songwriters, composers and multi-instrumentalists such as Egberto Gismonti, Hermeto Pascoal and Milton Nascimento, Villela draws on a vast range of Brazilian traditions, from samba and bossa nova to the carnival groove partido alto, and baião, a highly syncopated northeastern song form popularized by Luiz Gonzaga in the mid-1940s. While growing up in Rio, Villela literally soaked up music from the air, falling asleep at night to the sounds wafting over from the samba school behind her grandmother’s house

ARTICLE: FROM FAR AND WIDE

Back to Brazil: Part Three

Read "Back to Brazil: Part Three" reviewed by Mark Holston

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 A singer who needs no introduction, Eliane Elias sculpts a predictably sensual soundscape on Love Stories (Concord). The nine-track project features a string orchestra and lush arrangements by Rob Mathes, unobtrusive rhythm section chores by a cadre of Brazilian percussionists, and the steady hand of bassist ...

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

C. Michael Bailey's Best Releases of 2019

Read "C. Michael Bailey's Best Releases of 2019" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

The number of critics writing for All About Jazz is such that there is little content overlap from one scrib to the next. This provides the reader a rich and compelling collection of opinion from which to derive guidance regarding a broad variety of music. Also contributing to All About Jazz as a resource are the ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Why Should There Be Stars

Read "Why Should There Be Stars" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

Besides a cursory review of some of the preliminary Grammy ballot submissions, this broadcast included new releases from trumpeter Wallace Roney, vocalists Lili Anel, Lynn Cardona and Heather Bambrick, guitarist Bill Frisell, pianists Hiromi, Lauren Lee and Brenda Earle Stokes, with birthday shout outs to vocalists Ann Richards (pictured) Lauren White, Melissa Stylianou plus pianists Abelita ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Sweet And Low Down

Read "Sweet And Low Down" reviewed by Mary Foster Conklin

A two hour broadcast with new releases from the legendary Louis Armstrong and His All Stars, guitarists Amanda Monaco and Doug MacDonald, a single from Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Science and vocalists Claudia Villela and Kate Vargas, with birthday shout outs to George Gershwin, Lee Wiley (pictured) and Alison Wedding, among others. Also a preview ...

Ten Artists: May 2019

Read "Ten Artists: May 2019" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Paul JostSimple LifePaul Jost Music2019 I believe there are precious few exceptional male jazz vocalists. There. I said it. Female vocalists? They are legion. But once one has pruned away the vanity projects, the Sinatra wannabes, and the most recent unforgivable cover of “My Funny Valentine," there remain few. Paul Jost ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Claudia Villela Offers Panoramic Showcase Of Her Brilliant Vocal Talent On "Encantada Live," Due April 12 From Taina Music

Claudia Villela Offers Panoramic Showcase Of Her Brilliant Vocal Talent On "Encantada Live," Due April 12 From Taina Music

Vocalist-composer Claudia Villela puts her stunning, supple virtuosity on vivid display with the April 12 release of Encantada Live on her own Taina Music label. Drawn from several live performances, the album alternates between performances by a septet, a quartet featuring Villela on piano, and intimate duets with various partners. It also includes three of Villela’s ...

ARTICLE: PROFILES

A Vintage Year For Jessica Felix And The Healdsburg Jazz Festival

Read "A Vintage Year For Jessica Felix And The Healdsburg Jazz Festival" reviewed by Arthur R George

It's a 20th anniversary vintage year for the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, pouring over the first ten days of this coming June, in the Sonoma County “wine country" 70 miles north of jny:San Francisco. That there is a festival at all is due to the tenacity of its artistic director Jessica Felix, who planted jazz in Healdsburg ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Drum Maestro Akira Tana Puts A Gorgeous Spin On The Brazilian Songbook With JAZZaNOVA

Drum Maestro Akira Tana  Puts A Gorgeous Spin On The Brazilian Songbook With JAZZaNOVA

AKIRA TANA didn’t have to go looking for Brazilian music as a young musician. An elite jazz drummer since the mid-1970s, he’s been immersed in the verdant hothouse of Brazil’s surging rhythms and sensuous melodies his entire career. His new album JAZZaNOVA, which is slated for release by Vega on March 1, 2018, reflects an abiding ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

Buddy Rich: The Beat Goes On

Read "Buddy Rich: The Beat Goes On" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Was Buddy Rich really “the world's greatest drummer"? The answer to that speculative question is debatable, of course, and opinions may vary, as they no doubt do on what kind of a person (or persons) he was when not weaving his particular brand of magic behind a drum kit. Buddy's remarkable talents as a drummer and ...


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