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Opening with a playful stretch of "Pure Imagination," Chilean chanteuse Claudia Acuña leads a talented band based around bassist/co-producer Avishai Cohen, drummer Jeff Ballard and pianist Jason Lindner through a series of contrapuntal improvisations. Performing songs composed both by old guards like Ellington, Berlin, the Gershwins and Rodgers and Hart, as well as newer standard bearers like Newly and Wonder, Acuña displays a penchant for original shaping, which is at times overextended and at others constrained. Among the odder arrangements are a rather unremorseful telling of "My Man’s Gone Now" and a "Prelude To A Kiss" which rushes to the main event. On the other hand, "What’ll I Do?" is appropriately lost and lingering, and "Bewitched" is bewilderingly multi-colored. An air of appreciation carries through both sides of the musical borders with the pairing of "Gracias A La Vida" and "Long As You’re Living," but despite a language barrier, the Spanish number is more moving than the often trite English version. "The Thrill Is Gone" bridges English lyrics with Latin rhythms, but some of the other songs just don’t translate as well.
Track Listing: 1. Pure Imagination
2. Viento de Sur (Wind of the South)
3. My Man's Gone Now
4. Prelude to a Kiss
5. Gracias a la Vida (Thanks for Life)
6. What'll I Do?
7. Long as You're Living
8. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
9. Alfonsina y el Mar (Alfonsina and the Sea)
10. I'll Find You
11. Thrill Is Gone
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.