On a good day it is very likely that you’ll find an artist who is a fine vocalist fronting a highly successful ensemble. But once in a blue moon you’ll find one who is magnificent in the vocal department, a superb percussionist, writer and arranger of music with all of these aspects of artistry being almost second nature. And then there is that small matter of leading a fine ensemble as well. Estaire Godinez is just that kind of artist; a rare and gleaming gem. Ms. Godinez not only is blessed with a seductive voice which she uses to beguilingly beautiful effect. As if that is not enough her fine percussion colouring, ever so subtle, adds remarkable tone colour to her playing. Both of these alluring artistic qualities are expressed in abundance on This Time…, a fine album by any stretch of the imagination.
There is something more. Estaire Godinez achieves perfect poise and balance every time she sets out to sing. She is never off her game. There is never a wrong note; only soaring glissandos and melismatic décor – just enough of it to make each song that much more memorable. If I were to perform the tough task of selecting one song that stands out for all these reasons that song would be “Bésame Mucho”. But here’s the thing: that classic track is turned into something completely unique, both in terms of tempo, harmony and style. Estaire Godinez creates songs with such an aura of brilliance that she dazzles from song to song making this a superb set.
Not only do her vocals float and weave with clarity and precision, Ms. Godinez also gives a stand-out performance on congas and timbales. She plays the instruments with musical conviction and beauty of tone. Not only that, but Estaire Godinez is capable of writing music for her instruments with inspired intuition. This results in music that is glorious in texture and deeply affecting. She is also an immaculate accompanist with a clean pair of fingers and hands and a dashing virtuosity that she shows off in the entire repertoire. Not only that, Estaire Godinez places the congas, timbales and cajón not unnecessarily front and centre of the band, but in synch with the other instrumentalists.
The rest of the ensemble is inspired as well. Of course they would be when the leader helps to uplift the performances of the musicians to greater heights. There is not much room to expand ad infinitum on ideas that are constantly being developed by the instrumentalists. The order of the day is short immaculately crafted soli that in turn uplift the spaces in between the vocal choruses. Stokely Williams and Enrique Toussaint in particular play with supple rhythmic flexibility and pianist, saxophonist and guitarist are also up to the challenge, playing their part with a big-boned sense of force. All this has helped create a record of glistening beauty and charm.
Track List: Come With Me (slow); All or Nothing; Just Say Yes; Bésame Mucho; Come With Me (fast); Corcovado; You; Save Your Love; Why Should I Care; Latina Soy; You Won’t Forget Me; Leprechaun Dance; This Time; Come With Me (slow).
Personnel: Estaire Godinez: vocals and all percussion; Stokely Williams: drums, steel pans and background vocals; Peter Schimke: piano and strings; Eric Leeds: tenor saxophone; Serge Akou: bass; Mike Scott: guitar; Enrique Toussaint: bass (6); Dirk Freymuth: guitar (2, 4, 6, 9,); JD Steele: background vocals (7, 13).
About Estaire Godinez
Unless you’ve already been lucky enough to hear, the first thing you probably don’t know about Estaire Godinez is that she is – by no stretch of the imagination – an international sensation. A smoldering vocalist and ace percussionist, the Oakland, California born Mexican American has recorded on more than sixty albums. She has been consistently sought after for her essential performance skills by a number of world renowned artists. From stints with Prince to Coke Escovedo to the Brothers Johnson, to George Benson, she has proven herself a stylistic chameleon capable of wearing dozens of musical hats. And they all “look” fantastic on her. Read more…