Jun 16, 2016 04:53 PM EDT | Mike Greenblatt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
When Brazilian vocalist Carol Saboya turned stateside heads with her lovely 2012 Belezas, no one thought it would be four years until her next CD. Carolina (AAM Music) has been nurtured by her mentor Antonio Adolfo who plays piano, produces and arranges. The result is a stunningly gorgeous bossa-nova supreme where samba meets up with its progenitors in new and surprising ways plus meets some strangers along the way (Lennon/McCartney and Sting) to provide some syncopated surprise.
Opener "Passarim" is one of three by Antonio Carlos Jobim [1927-1994]. Light, airy, jazzy and instantly delightful, it approximates what it might be like to be with the little bird of its Portuguese title, flying, singing and alighting on whatever nearby branch offers refuge.
"Hello Goodbye" sounds nothing like the Beatles original, making it into a samba (you can hear it for yourself below). Conversely, Sting's "Fragile" does, indeed, take the songwriter's vision in the direction he intended, only further, accented by a scintillating Marcelo Martins alto flute solo.
In 1919, "choro" king Pixinguinha [1897-1973] wrote "1 x 0" in celebration of Brazil's soccer victory over Uruguay. Ninety-five years later, Nelson Angelo wrote lyrics to it for the 2014 World Cup. Saboya sings as if she's a flute wending her way through the jungle of Adolfo's arrangement.
Djavan's "Aviao" swings mightily as Saboya scats in, over, under and through Marcelo's flute almost as if the two are playing tag in a playground. Another delightful cover is Joao Bosco's "Senhoras do Amazonas" where Adolfo's chamber arrangement echoes the currents of the Amazon River. Leo Amuedo's Flamenco-like acoustic guitar styling is like the great leafy beyond of the river's border. Drummer Rafael Barata and double-bassist Jorge Helder make most of the magic here as their percussion discussion comes to the fore.
Saboya is one cool cookie, alright. Whether she's singing wordless emotion that makes her into just another instrument or taking these imaginative musical beds and totally luxuriating in them like a stretching, yawning lion, she's always in service to the song.
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