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Mafalda Minnozzi: Natural Impression



Mafalda Minnozzi
Multifaceted Singer, Composer, Producer Mafalda Minozzi

More and more I am convinced that Mafalda Minnozzi is one of the finest Brasilian singers around. Notice that I have not said that she is ‘one of the best singers of Brasilian music, but one of best Brasilian singers’… The reason is that she sounds as native as any Brasilian vocalist – by virtue, I believe, of the number of years she has spent subsumed in the topographic culture of that great nation. She has [also] had some of the best vocal training in Portuguese [with its unique Brasilian phonetics]. And she uses her exquisitely perfumed voice to give wing to the music of the great Brasilian songbook. In short she can sing anything Brasilian, and – because the songs seem to speak to her in a very special way – she can make them as authentic as any of the finest Brasilian vocalists around.

Mafalda Minnozzi: Natural Impression [Graphic Design – Ricardo Campos]

I cannot think of anyone else [other than Elis Regina who could have pulled off such a magnificent, alluring interpretation of Águas De Março, that iconic Antonio Carlos [Tom] Jobim song, made all-but-incomparable by Elis and Tom. It is thus with audacity that Miss Minnozzi decided to begin Natural Impression with that song. Such is the attraction of her version that the album gets better and better song after song. After all she has a rich vocal quality, a sensitivity and a passionate soul that enable her to give wing to Brasilian emotion, the most ineffably difficult voice because of the nuanced tiers of subtle emotions embedded sometimes in single word; certainly, in a phrase and a line of the lyric. For instance, no other language can express the meaning of saudade or alegria, words can only be emoted. This is the reason Brasilian vocalists – without being especially ‘dramatic sopranos’ stand apart from all other vocalists – without having to sing dramatic operatic roles.

Miss Minnozzi is that kind of Brasilian singer. Her vocals here are quite simply Brasilian-rhapsodic. However, she does so much more on Natural Impression. Here she adds songs in English, French, and in native Italian as well. It is, again, no surprise that she excels in all of the languages. Italian – because that is her native tongue. Her technical superiority comes not only from perfect diction, but perfect pitch as well. Miss Minnozzi also brings to her vocals a kind of lived experience, which enables her to inhabit the characters she plays – making her something of an opera-like diva – consequently her narratives are so authentic that she becomes in a chameleonic, operatic sort of way – the characters that she ‘plays’ in every song.

L to R: Rogerio Boccato, Helio Alves, Eduardo Belo, Mafalda Minozzi, Paul Ricci
L to R: Rogerio Boccato, Helio Alves, Eduardo Belo, Mafalda Minozzi, Paul Ricci

The vocalist has a perfect partner in Paul Ricci, a brilliant guitarist who also brings a very special grace to the production of this music. He is an exquisite arranger too – a role he shares with the vocalist. But it is his ability to bring just the right kind of musical embellishment to music. He seems to think like a French Impressionist, which is to say that colour, texture are supreme and combine in subtle almost imperceptible ways – harmonic and rhythmic – to [Impressionistic] aural landscapes, and he invites [musicians] to probe their significance to wring from each word paintings, thus accentuating the emotional power of the music. For the record, the Tom Jobim classic with which the album opens is not the only classic rendition on this recording. Each of the charts dazzles, not the least Ivan Lins’ Começar De Novo, and also Bruma, a glorious duet wit the inimitable Roberto Menescal. You will be hard-pressed to find a most eloquent Brasilian vocal album so far this year; indeed, you will be hard-pressed to find a better vocal album in any language so far this year…

Deo gratis…

YouTube Video – Mafalda Minozzi: Águas de março

Music – 1: Águas De Março; 2: Começar De Novo; 3: Mas Que Nada; 4: Useless Landscape [Inútil Paisagem]; 5: Samba De Verão; 6: Ne Me Quitte Pas; 7: Manhã de Carnaval; 8: Coração Vagabundo; 9: Estate; 10: Dois Pra Lá, Dois Pra Cá; 11: E Penso A Te; 12: Estamos Aí; 13: Só Tinha De Ser Com Você; 14: Bruma; 15: Samba De Uma Nota Só.

Musicians – Mafalda Minnozzi: arrangements and vocals; Paul Ricci: arrangements and guitars; Hélio Alves: piano [1 – 7, 9 – 15]; Eduardo Belo: contrabass [1 – 7, 9 – 15]; Rogerio Boccato: drums and percussion [3, 10]; Kassin: percussion [5]. Special Guests – Roberto Menescal: duet with Mafalda Minnozzi [14]; Joe Locke: vibraphone [7]; Don Byron: clarinet [6]; Doug Beavers: trombone [3]; Michael Wolff: keyboards [8]; John Patitucci: contrabass [8].

Released – 2023
Label – MPI [2320]
Runtime – 1:03:08

Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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