What’s not to love about Kind of Rose, an album by the Brasilian vocalist Rosa Avilla. Her’s is the kind of voice that you would hear in your mind’s ear: youthful, evenly balanced with mellifluousness and with a touch of sinew. Miss Avilla is also a sensitive interpreter of noir ballads from the Songbook that extends from the 40’s to the present day.
Miss Avilla’s luminous interpretations of Lover Man and Fine and Mellow resurrect the indomitable spirit of the celebrated Billie Holiday. Meanwhile in bringing this short album to a rhapsodic finale she pays homage to another blithe spirit – George Shearing – with Lullaby of Birdland, an iconic song that, whenever played and – especially, sung as well as she does here – conjures the vivid memory of a time when the very streets of New York City echoed and came alive with the music of Birdland’s legendary namesake: Charlie “Bird Parker.
It bears mention that Miss Avilla is not what one may call a musician beholden to the music of the past. Clearly she approaches music as a wonderful continuum that goes well beyond Miss Holiday, to the music of George Bizet and then looks forward to music by Elton John. Granted this repertoire presets music of a similar tempo from song to song, but this is only because Miss Avilla knows that her lustrous is best put to use in the realm of balladic music or music which lyrics evoke the bittersweet emotions that affect the more sensitive side of human beings.
In this regard, Miss Avilla uses her luminous contralto to caress – rather than sing heart-soft lyrics. She lets her delicious voice roll languorously over poignant phrases, which as often as not end with a hint of a sensuous, tremulous vibrato. Harold Arlen’s magnificent The Man that Got Away is a fine example of this kind of execution. Fine and Mellow by Miss Holiday and Elton John’s Blue Eyes are also such beauteously sung ballads.
In symbiotic accord with some fine musicians – pianist Ricardo Castellanos, bassist Marcelo Rocha and drummer Edson Ghilardi – Miss Avilla continues to hold her own regularly phrasing with eloquence, pointing salient words with a liquid legato. The George Shearing number is a classic example of this.
Her diction is a model, both expressive and crystal clear and she excels in the wondering or expressive tenderness of this repertoire – which one ends up hoping that there was more of before this beautifully produced and recorded, all-too-short album comes to a close.
It should be noted the excellent work executed by producer David Pasqua. This album was recorded in his studio as a live session, all musicians performing together, all instruments at the same time.
Tracks – 1: Lover Man; 2: Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word; 4: Habanera; 5: Fine and Mellow; 6: Blue Eyes; 7: Lullaby of Birdland
Musicians – Rosa Avilla: vocals; Ricardo Castellanos: piano; Marcelo Rocha: contrabass; Edson Ghilardi: drums
Released – 2022
Label – Independent
YouTube Audio – Rosa Villa – Kind of Rose: Lover Man
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