VIDEO: Cracked Latin’s “Alone With You”

No idea what in the world is going on in this video, but if the world as shown in this video existed, more people would want to spend time outside. You know what? Spend time outside anyway, and you can have Cracked Latin to thank for it. Their video for “Alone With You” is wacky and zany, with a bit of a bossa nova step to it.

VIDEO: Maimouna Youssef’s “Meet Me In Brazil”

When I saw that the new video by Maimouna Youssef was directed by Brian “B.Kyle” Atkins, I thought “oh, the Okayplayer guy?” I didn’t have to ask, I know of him and his work and it was great to see this knowing that it was going to be good before I even pressed play. Now it’s your turn, Youssef’s video for “Meet Me In Brazil”, which comes at a perfect time following the close of the London Olympics and the anticipation of the 2016 games in Rio. Hear this song now, and you may very well hear it much more in four years.

REVIEW: Anna Borges & Bill Ward’s “Receita de Samba”

Anna Borges and Bill Ward This is not a new duet album with Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward. This Bill Ward is a Brazilian vocalist/guitarist doing an album with vocalist Anne Borges, and Receita de Samba (self-released) is an album that will either bring you back to those vacations in Brazil, make you wish you had planned your last vacation there, or perhaps you’ll want to set up plans to visit someday.

You really can go no wrong with Brazilian music, and the music is as fast as its people throughout the country. Here, Borges and Ward trade vocal duties throughout and if you enjoyed songs like “Aquele frevo axe”, you’re going to love how they sound here. The recording is brilliant, and if set up right, you may think they’re playing right in your living room. If you listen to this in your car and imagine them in the back seat, pull over to the side and just allow them to sing and play, don’t risk a ticket.

If you need a mood enhancer and want to bring the spirit of Brazil closer to you, make a stop here.

SOME STUFFS: Céu to enter North America this summer for concerts

With a new album (Caravana Sereia Bloom) on the way, Céu will be making the rounds, a nice way of saying she will be going on tour in North America in support of it:

June 9 – Princeton, NJ – Pettoranello Gardens Amphitheater
June 10 – New York, NY – Highline Ballroom
June 12 – Washington, DC – 6th & I Historic Synagogue
June 14 – Chicago, IL – Double Door
June 15 – Dakota Jazz Club – St. Paul, MN
June 17 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
June 19 – Phoenix, AZ – Musical Instrument Museum
June 20 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern
June 21- Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre
June 22 – San Francisco, CA – Herbst Theatre (SF Jazz)
June 25 – Seattle, WA – The Triple Door
June 26 – Vancouver, BC – Rio Theatre
June 28 – Allston, MA – Brighton Music Hall

The album is a travel-related album that moved her to create the songs that are on it, so allow her to travel to your city and into your hearts. It’s a good thing.

VIDEO: Céu’s “Retrovisor”
Caravana Sereia Bloom is the forthcoming third album from vocalist Céu due out on April 3rd, an album that comes from a wide range of musical and lyrical sources. For this new album, it is said that she is trying to expand her horizons but not to where she completely alienates her fans. What you’ll see below is the first video from the album in the form of “Retrovisor”. As you will hear, expansion is a good thing.

FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD: Rebecca Zapen’s “Addicted To Love”

The late Robert Palmer was known for some incredible songs, whether it was songs written by or made specifically for him, but also did his share of covers. There’s so many songs by him that deserved to be covered, but Rebecca Zapen has chosen the song most people know Palmer for, “Addicted To Love”. The song is from Zapen’s album Nest (Bashert), and you can download her cover for free.

Zapen fans will be happy to know that she has a show just after Christmas, then she’ll be doing a number of shows early in the new year. Here is where you’ll be able to see her:
December 27… St. Petersburg, FL @ The Ale & The Witch 9PM
January 07… Tampa, FL @ Gram’s Place 7PM
January 14… Sarasota, FL @ WSLR Radio Friends of Florida Folk Concert 730PM
January 19… Tallahassee, FL @ Mockingbird Cafe 8PM
January 20… Thomasville, GA @ House Show 8PM
January 21… Sopchoppy, FL @ Posh Organics 8PM
January 29… Eustis, FL @ Olivia’s Coffee House 3PM
February 11… New York, NY @ The Living Room 7PM
February 12… New York, NY @ The Bitter End 730PM
February 17… DeLand, FL @ House Show Rebecca Zapen – Addicted To Love (Robert Palmer Cover) by fanaticpro

REVIEW: Patty Ascher’s “Bossa, Jazz ‘n’ Samba”

Photobucket A title like Bossa, Jazz ‘n’ Samba (Zoho) works two ways. One, some might feel the different genres is not only an explanation of what lurks inside, but it may be a bit intimidating: what exactly is Patty Ascher good at: one, the other, and can it be all three? After listening to this album a number of times, I can say that she is someone who is a pop artist in the classic sense, and one that I wish would be able to develop a bigger and bolder career in these times.

I say this because Ascher is obviously someone who listened to the classics and knows how to execute this beautifully. All but one of these songs are originals, so she’s not only trying to let people know what she sounds like, but also let others know that she can write with the best of them. Ascher sing in both English and Portuguese, so hearing her samba and bossa nova songs aren’t just the admiration of an outsider, it is genuine. I’ve never visited Brazil before but I’d like to think in a country rich with culture and music, Ascher’s music would either play a role or I would be able to experience the joy I hear by exploring what that land has to offer. Fans of vocal jazz, especially those who explore the sounds of South America, will find a new album to put into heavy rotation.

REVIEW: Andréa Wood’s “Dhyana”

Photobucket There is not a shortage of jazz music out there, and that includes new music. If you follow my reviews, you’ll know this to be true. Vocal jazz are a dime a dozen, and I normally don’t use cliches in my reviews but in this case there are times when vocal jazz is a style of music I fear. However, when you have a singer who breaks out of the comfortable mode the genre has created for itself, I want to be open to what they may offer. Welcome Andréa Wood.

Upon looking at the video, I will admit into putting on the cliche hat and going “okay, let’s see what this person will be doing”, but almost done with a grimace. You know what changed my mind? The band. It doesn’t sound like it was recorded today, there’s that nice drum reverb, I’m hearing the room and immediately I thought “wow, if the music sounds like this, how is this singer going to compliment it?” Then she started to sing and I was like “this… is her?” Then I look at the album credits, and Wood herself produced the album. Whoa, I thought, followed by “who… is this?” This is Andréa Wood.

What I hear is someone who is not only well versed in the music she covers, but also knows the true power of the human voice as a proper instrument. If anyone watches the NBC talent show The Voice, the premise is that one has to master the art of singing, as it’s not just a means to sing and sing well, or be loud. You have to know how to add depth and color into each song, and bring the words into your world as if you are the one who wrote the songs, and Wood does this in everything she does. To my ears, she sounds like a cross between Nnenna Frelon and Eliane Elias, and when she dabbles into a bit of bossa nova, you’ll swear she comes from Brazil and not Washington D.C. (I’m sure bossa nova purists will laugh at the notion, which is understandable, but she sounds comfortable when singing “Chega De Saudade” and “Pro Que Discutir Com Madame?”) Even if you have heard “Someday My Prince Will Come” countless times, this version may bring you to tears, and shows how deep into the emotion of the song she is willing to go.

I can hear her doing a wide range of music, not just jazz, but if this is her home, take off your slippers or shoes before entering and see how she has decorated the place. I hope to hear much more music from Wood in the next few years.


REVIEW: Yuko Ito’s “Mania De Você”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Singer Yuko Ito studied jazz in New York because she wanted to become more involved with the music she fell in love with while growing up in Japan. Her MySpace page features a phrase that is fitting of her music and her voice: “a born again Brazilian New Yorker”.

Mania De Docê (Funny Baby Face) could have easily been recorded in the mid to late 70’s, as it has an authentic quality that comes from someone who sounds like she was born and raised in South America. Her versions of “Garota De Ipanema” (“Girl From Ipanema”), “Agua De Beber”, and “Flor De Lis” may be able to transport you to the places of inspiration, but it’s Ito’s voice that’ll blow you away. She also does her own background vocals, and again, it sounds very true.

Ito covers a wide range of music outside of the jazz and Brazilian realm, and I’m sure no matter what she embraces with future albums, she will make it sound like her music, as any artist should.