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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


Cartas ao Vento

Label: Taina Music
Released: 2023


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Bernie Senesky, Ahmad Jamal & Drew Zaremba

Read "Bernie Senesky, Ahmad Jamal & Drew Zaremba" reviewed by Joe Dimino

We start the 829th Episode of Neon Jazz with rising star Drew Zaremba and music from his 2023 release Reunion. From there, we get into a band he's had some history with in the US Air Force Airmen of Note. We also hear a heavy helping of new music from Valeria Matzner, Bernie Senesky, Alex Hitchcock ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Cal Tjader, Atley King, Wayne Shorter & Danny Embrey

Read "Cal Tjader, Atley King, Wayne Shorter & Danny Embrey" reviewed by Joe Dimino

From a legendary guitarist hailing from Kansas City, we begin the 828th Episode of Neon Jazz with live music from Danny Embrey at the Green Lady Lounge followed by rising star vibraphonist Atley King. We spin new music from Claudia Villa, T.K. Blue, Elmar Frey and the Kevin Hays trio, Ben Street and Billy Hart. We ...


Article: Album Review

Claudia Villela: Cartas ao Vento

Read "Cartas ao Vento" reviewed by Katchie Cartwright

Cartas ao Vento marks a return and a departure for Claudia Villela. Born in Rio, she moved to jny:Santa Cruz in 1984, where she has remained. Years later, this is her first album made in Brazil. Villela has gained recognition in California and beyond as an intrepid improviser with a beautiful voice who creates captivating live ...


News: Recording

Vocalist Claudia Villela Showcases Her Profound Songwriting Gifts On 'Cartas Ao Vento,' Due September 8 From Taina Music

Vocalist Claudia Villela Showcases Her Profound Songwriting Gifts On 'Cartas Ao Vento,' Due September 8 From Taina Music

Vocalist-pianist-composer Claudia Villela basks in the warmth of her hometown of Rio de Janeiro with Cartas ao Vento, set for a September 8 release on her own Taina Music label. When visiting her family last year, the San Francisco Bay Area artist rounded up some of her collaborators from her youth (drummer Marcelo Costa, bassist Jorge ...


Encantada Live

Label: Taina Music
Released: 2019
Track listing: Cuscus, Viola Fora de Moda, Negra, Taina, Bachianas #5, Jangada, Minas, Cumeno com Cuentro, Em Paz


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 & Podcasts

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 & Podcasts

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 ...


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