Although the release of Crossing Borders by Eva Cortés comes just two years after In Bloom appeared on Truth Revolution Records, it feels like a much longer time since her sultry voice has been heard on record. Thankfully the wait is over and listeners can bask in the beguiling music of Eva Cortés once again. The smoky-voiced singer is in fine form throughout this disc, singing in Spanish and English (with flawless ease and panache, one might add), even working some unusual vocalastics magic along the way on songs such as “Corazón” and “Piel Canela” where she can be heard bending notes and twisting phrases as if improvising with jazz coloratura. Such leaps of faith come from being sublimely comfortable in her musical skin. In fact, Eva Cortés has never sounded so comfortable about where she is in her musical life ever before.
Editor’s Pick · Featured Album · Crossing Borders
Featuring a clutch of beautifully crafted songs, Eva Cortés delivers a beguiling array of arrangements with characteristically huge powerful vocal seduction. Her mature intonation is a volcanic blend of theatrical tautness and élan. Lyrics and the stories they tell are told with a wonderful sense of pacing and detail. Words and phrases come alive with dramatic beauty, as if the songs were speaking to Miss Cortés. For her part she brings each to life with deep emotion, daubing lyrics with expressionist colours and silken textures. But she also bends their melodies ever so slightly – as she does in “Quizás” and “Rabo de Nube” – with deference to tradition, yet always moving them gently in an ever-modern, forward-looking direction. One senses the firm hand of producer arranger and producer Doug Beavers here as the music flies in the face of (Latin-Jazz) convention.
With the presence of Mr Beavers’ guiding hand also comes a super-group that includes bassist Luques Curtis, Román Filiú, Marvin Sewell, Jon Cowherd, Pepe Rivero, Robby Ameen, Luisito Quintero and Mr Beavers, among others. Each of these musicians is completely attuned to Eva Cortés’ vision and artistry, aided and abetted, no doubt, by some gorgeous arrangements by Miss Cortés’ long-time associate and pianist, Pepe Rivero. Folk and Jazz traditions can seldom come together so gloriously as on this recording where Eva Cortés offers vocalastic interpretations of such imposing grandeur and sonic richness. Despite its relatively understated presentation, this music – which blurs the lines between the Latin-American and the African-American styles, appropriately entitled Crossing Borders – this is a glossy, high-quality recording and features an on-form Eva Cortés, making it (the record) so eminently desirable.
Track list – 1: Corazón; 2: The Sky is Crying; 3: Déjà Vu; 4: Quizás; 5: Rabo de Nube; 6: Se Te Olvida; 7: Noche de Luna; 8: Sabor a Mí; 9: Contigo en Montego; 10: Crossing Borders; 11: Piel Canela
Personnel – Eva Cortés: vocals; Román Filiú: alto saxophone and alto flute; Jonathan Powell: trumpet; Doug Beavers: trombone; Marvin Sewell: guitar; Jon Cowherd: piano (3, 7); Pepe Rivero: piano; Luques Curtis: contrabass; Christian McBride: contrabass (11); Robby Ameen: drums; Luisito Quintero: percussion
Released – 2017
Label – Origin Records
Runtime – 45:22