Raquel Cepeda: Passion – Latin Jazz

Raquel Cepeda: Passion

There is a breathtaking array of music on this album Passion by Raquel Cepeda – music from an array of South American traditions as well as from the northern realm of Jazz. But it is no vanity project or publicity stunt either. Judging by the results it’s probably a given that the composers of this music would have approved whole-heartedly of Miss Cepeda’s decision to take the solo (lead) part throughout. Her uncompromising professionalism and prodigiously gifted artistry shines throughout the hour-or-so of music. It’s simply not a stretch at all for her to traverse the varied cultural topography with disparate music, making this into a journey of a myriad of soundscapes; disparate ones woven into a magical tapestry of sound.

Miss Cepeda’ uses the full range of her vocalastic skills here; her nasal voice, throat voice and her chest voice – each artfully engaged where the music demands it with such utter brilliance as to make the lyric come alive convincingly. I find her Brasilian repertoire here perhaps the most alluring, given the complexity of the imagery – which is Afro-Brasilian, syncretic-spiritual, sensual (even sexual) and secular. Her performance on “Berimbau” and “Canto de Ossanha” is thus – for me at least – the crowning glory of this album. But while that’s personal, there is much more here to cheer about than just those two songs. Miss Cepeda’s wonderful version of Ellingtonia is also quite magical. She opens and closes the album with “Caravan” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got That Swing)” respectively. The latter ends the programme with requisite joy and with a breathtaking version of “Quimbara” appended to the Jazz classic.

The vocalist is also joined here by star musicians, the collection of which amounts to a whole stellar constellation. Pianist Barry Sames, percussionist Cassio Duarte, reeds and winds master Ernesto Vega, celebrated bandoneon player Héctor del Curto (on the mesmerising version of the tango “Little Gem”), the great cuatro player and fellow Venezuelan, Jorge Glem and the great drummer and percussion colourist Marlon Simon (also a fellow-Venezuelan of Miss Cepeda) are just a few of those who have joined Miss Cepeda on this memorable album. They and others are fully attuned to her vision and artistry. And that’s the other reason why Passion is absolutely an album to die for.

Track list – 1: Caravan; 2: Moliendo Café; 3: Berimbau; 4: From Afar; 5: Mil Congojas; 6: Llorarás; 7: Dentro Dos Olhos Seus; 8: Little Gem; 9: (You’d Be So) Easy to Love; 10: Luz de Luna; 11: Canto de Ossanha; 12: Your Return; 13: It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got That Swing)/Quimbara

Personnel – Raquel Cepeda: vocals; Barry Sames: piano; Thomas Helton: contrabass; Cassio Duarte: percussion (1 – 9, 11 – 13), berimbau (3); Adriano Santos: drums (1 – 5, 7, 11, 12); Orlando Fuentes: drums (6, 9, 13); Ernesto Vega: tenor saxophone (1, 4, 9, 11 – 13), soprano saxophone (3) and flute (6); Omar Martinez: trumpet (1 – 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 13) and flugelhorn (7); With Special Guests – Héctor del Curto: bandoneon (8); Jorge Glem: Venezuelan cuatro (10); Marlon Simon: drums and percussion (8, 11); David Cáceres: back-up vocals (13)

Released – 2019
Label – Raquel Cepeda Music LLC
Runtime – 1:07:36

Raul Da Gama
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.

More from author


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts


Featured Posts

Frank Emilio Flynn · Amor & Piano

The name of the great Cuban composer and pianist Frank Emilio Flynn bears similarities to that of the Brasilian composer and saxophonist Moacir...

Black Atlantic · Ballaké Sissoko & Jane Bunnett & Maqueque

I almost didn’t log into Vimeo at 8 o’clock on Saturday night, March the 27th. It’s not that the programme wasn’t beckoning enough. After...

Mansfarroll · Dizzy el Afrocubano · Homenaje a Dizzy Gillespie

Celebrar a Dizzy Gillespie - el legendario trompetista y hermano gemelo en creatividad del gran Charlie Parker - no es infrecuente, especialmente entre...

Héctor Quintana · Benny Moré Un Siglo Después

En enero del año pasado, 2020, tuve la oportunidad de viajar a La Habana con mi colega, el reconocido escritor y cronista cultural Raul...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

El Gran Fellové: Part 2- Enter Chocolate & Celio González

Early Sunday morning… I awoke to the pleasant surprise of a Google Alert in my email. I clicked to find Variety Magazine had published an...

El Gran Fellové: Part 1- The Beginning

Francisco Fellové Valdés (October 7, 1923 – February 15, 2013), also known as El Gran Fellové (The Great Fellove), was a Cuban songwriter and...

Talking Sensorial with Mafalda Minnozzi

Earlier this year – in July to be precise – I critiqued an amazing recording by Mafalda Minnozzi. The album was entitled Sensorial, a...

Tony Succar: Percussionist with a Big Bang Theory

Tony Succar could have been a professional sportsman – a football player to be precise. Two things kept the Peruvian-American from making his...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more