Every year I receive lots of recordings from a diversity of Brazilian artists. Most of those recordings are good, but once or twice a year a recording from Brazil comes to my hands that surprise me for its extreme quality, almost bordering on perfection. That is the case with Cristina Braga – Samba, Jazz and Love.
The original concept and eclectic blend of textures and sounds created by the harp, vibraphone and trumpet worked beautifully on this album. Braga’s glistening vocal tone along her sublime harp sound brings new and fresh angles to the classic compositions “O Barquinho” by Roberto Menescal, Chico Buarque’s “Samba e Amor”, Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Desafinado”, “Só Danço Samba”, and “Canta Mais” and Caetano Veloso’s “Desde Que O Samba É Samba”. On the English version of “Desafinado”, Braga’s subtle interpretation is reminiscent of Astrud Gilberto. Braga also sings in English on “Rio Paraiso” and the ballad “Love Parfait”.
Jesse Sadod’s trumpet and flugelhorn improvisations add the jazz touch, sometimes echoing the New Orleans sound, especially in “Samba e Amor”, “Preciso me encontrar” and “Canta Mais”. And in “Triste de quem” Sadod’ solo is very similar to Herb Albert. The album also includes outstanding instrumental versions of Antonio Carlos Jobim: “Chovenda na Roseira” and Moacir Santos/Vinicius De Moraes: “Triste de quem”.
Cristina Braga Samba – Jazz and Love, is without a doubt one of the best albums of 2013 so far.
Tracks: Love Parfait, O Barquinho, Samba e Amor, Desafinado, Rio Paraiso, Triste de quem, Só Danço Samba, Preciso me encontrar, Canta Mais, Chovendo na roseira, Desde Que O Samba É Samba.
Personnel: Cristina Braga – voice, harp, Ricardo Medeiros – bass, Jessé Sadoc – trumpet, flugelhorn, Joca Moraes – percussion, Arthur Dutra – vibraphone.
Cristina Braga on the Web: cristinabraga.com/en/
Label: enja Records | Release date: June 2013
Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre