There is something delightfully elusive about the voice of Anna Estrada. It is almost like the splash of a rare demi-sec gliding in the inner recesses of the taste buds as it lingers for just awhile before vanishing into the deepest part of the mind’s mind.
And because the memory of her voice resides there it rises and falls like a vivid memory washing over the inner part of the brain. The impact of Estrada’s voice and, indeed her music is that memorable. Singing in a manner that is dry and iconic Estrada automatically creates beautifully new and memorable interpretations of songs. As she lets her voice ripple and glide across lines of songs there is a characteristically wry femininity that is infused into the phrases and the lines of the songs that she sings. Despite the seemingly detached nature of her vocals she is actually deeply connected with the emotions of the songs. However, there is none of that affected huskiness that flavours the vocals of many singers.
On Volando Estrada does what she has come to be famous for: Digging deep into the stories that she vocalizes. She has now become fairly well known for her interpretations of songs that crisscross several boundaries. In truth she blurs the boundaries that are manufactured by marketers and critics alike. Estrada’s strong suit is dreaming and feeling the emotions of characters in Spanish and Portuguese and in English as well. She also hears the whistling of the wind and the hushed bustle of leaves in the trees as well as the flutter of bird feathers and the creeping of the inchworm. Turning this into enthralling music is something that she does effortlessly. This gives her a singular vocalastic personality and it is this personality that burns quietly through this album. Estrada’s finest efforts come to life on “Happiness Is A Warm Gun/I Want You-She’s So Heavy” just as well as they do on “Mas Que Nada” and on “Begin The Beguine,” which is a rare and classic version of the Cole Porter chart. Just as beautiful is the Anthony Newley chart, “Pure Imagination”.
Much of the success of the album must be shared by her producer, Ray Scott, who continues to bring together fine musicians to add much harmonic colour to the music that might otherwise be relatively monochromatic. Special mention needs to be made of vibraphonist Tommy Kesecher, and Scott himself dapples several tracks with a lively sense of harmony adding to the wondrous shades already brought to the music by pianist Jonathan Alford. But the heart of the music lies in the deceptively simple lyricism of Anna Estrada’s voice which still echoes with delightful clarity long after the words have faded and died. Newley’s beautiful chart “Pure Imagination” is a fine example of both the resonant echoes as well as the wry emotion that this artist brings to her music.
Tracks: Wild Is The Wind; Cuando Vuelva A Tu Lado; Happiness Is A Warm Gun/I Want You-She’s So Heavy; Mas Que Nada; Paciencia (Spanish); Dueño De Mi Corazón; Everybody’s Talking; Al Empezar El Beguín-Begin The Beguine; Pure Imagination; É Preciso Perdoar; Paciencia (Portuguese); Dueño De Mi Corazón.
Personnel: Anna Estrada: vocals; Jonathan Alford: piano (2, 7, 8, 9), Rhodes (1, 5, 11); Alex Baum: bass (1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10); Peter Barshay: bass (3, 7, 9); Ray Loeckle: tenor saxophone (2); Rich Kuhns: accordion (3), organ (4), Rhodes (10); Tommy Kesecher: vibraphone (7, 9), marimba (3); Al Bent: trombone (1, 4, 6); Charlie McCarthy: tenor saxophone (1, 4, 6), flute (1); Phil Thompson: drums (1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10); Michelle Goerlitz: percussion; Ray Scott: guitar (2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 12); Beri Puhlovski: drums (7, 9); Edgardo Cambon: coro (4, 6); Sandy Cressman: coro (4, 6).
Anna Estrada – Official Website: www.annaestrada.net
Label: Feral Flight Productions
Release date: July 2012
Reviewed by: Raul da Gama