Comparisons are odious, even in the most mundane circumstances, but there is a recording of a rare performance of Elis Regina Saudades Do Brasil , filmed and recorded in 1980, and directed by the great Cesar Carmago Mariano that reverberates with energy, even when it is not playing. The mere recollection of it can make the heart dance interminably. This recording Quando O Céu Clarear by the extraordinary paulista and sambanista, Fabiana Cozza bustles with the same level of energy. Cozza, whose wholesome contralto voice resembles most the great vocalists such as Clara Nuñes and sometimes even Maria Bethania, when she digs deep and vocalizes in a register down low and on the brink of a female tenor.
Cozza is expressive and pliable. She can give a commanding performance when the music conjouring almost shamanistic power as she does in the most Afro-Brasilian charts on this album, “Xangô Te Xinga,” “Ponto de Nanã” and on the devastatingly beautiful performance of Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes’ classic “Canto de Ossanha.” But Cozza is versatile, seductive and a changeling like the best vocal practitioners from Brasil. Her duets with the incomparable Dona Ivone Lara, “Doces Recordações” and the mellow composition from Dona Ivone Lara herself, “Tendência” find Cozza in a much restrained, sensuous state of mind. At any rate she is most beguiling and more than apt to weave a magical spell rooted in the Afro nature of her being as she is to charm an audience in a European sense of bewitching an audience. Either way she is one of the most attractive and riveting singers to come out of Brasil singing sambas and reimagining other folk fare.
Like the Elis set of thirty years ago, Camargo Mariano had a hand in the magnificent orchestrations then. At this time the torch passes to Marcos Paiva, who plays bass and is responsible for the musical direction. Paiva has created a sensation with his arrangements of the special variety of percussion instrumentation. But more than that, Paiva has recreated the music for a much larger canvas than for which it was imagined. Working with a bona fide star such as Fabiana Cozza made it all the more easy. However, Paiva must share the spotlight for his extraordinary work in creating the earthy textures and colors that mark this album as one of the most powerful and unique to come out of Brasil in recent times.
Tracks: Incensa; Mestre-Sala; Doces Recordações; Parte; Novo Viver; Quando O Céu Clarear; Saudação para Iemanjá Agradecer e Abraçar; Xangô Te Xinga; Não Sai de Mim; Tendência; Pela Sombra; Ponto de Nanã Canto de Ossanha; Nação.
Personnel: Fabiana Cozza: vocals; Renato Epstein: violão; Rodrigo Campos: cavaco; Ildo Silva: cavaco (3); Marcos Paiva: bass, acoustic bass (9); Rubinho Antunes: trumpet (2); Emerson Will: trombone(2); Josué dos Santos: tenor saxophone(2); João Poleto: flute (4, 12); Dino Barioni: mandolin (4); Edson Sant’anna: keyboards (4), piano (8, 12); Guilherme Ribeiro: piano (11), keyboards (13); João Cristal: piano (13); Celsinho Almeida: drums; Luizinho 7 Cordas: violão 7 cordas (1, 5, 6, 11, 15); Zé Barbeiro: violão 7 cordas; Marcelo Jeneci: sanfona (3); Tocão: banjo (3, 6, 15); Douglas Alonso: percussion; Julio César: percussion; Gersinho: surdo, percussion; Filipe Roseno: percussion (7, 9); Claudia Romano: chorus, handclaps; Ione Papas: chorus, handclaps; Juliana Amaral: chorus, handclaps; Marcos Paiva: chorus, handclaps; Fabiana Cozza: chorus, handclaps; Vitor Pessoa: chorus, handclaps; Nino Miao: chorus, handclaps; Julio Padrón: voice (14); Luis Márquez (Papo): voice (14); Special Guests: Dona Ivone Lara: vocals (3); Quarteto Em Branco e Preto: Magno Souza; Vitor Pessoa; Everson Pessoa; Ivison Pessoa; Maurilo Oliveiro (5); Yaniel Matos: piano (9); Julio Padrón: trumpet (14).
Fabiana Cozza on the web: www.fabianacozza.com.br
Review written by: Raul da Gama