Vocalist Anna Estrada is set to release her third and most adventurous release to date Volando. Brazilian music in all forms hits my musical sweet spot hard but when I saw the tunes included the Harry Nilsson hit "Everybody's Talking" and "Begin the Beguine" there were some immediate pre-conceived if not ill founded notions that creped into the back of my mind. The bottom line of never judging a book by its cover or in this cover tunes still holds true.
The warm tones of Estrada turn the Nilsson pop standard into an infectious samba and the Spanish translation of "Begin the Beguine" is pure magic. While Latin gems are certainly on display for the purist, the more eclectic approach to the variety of tunes chosen makes this a release that seems to give up something new with each spin of the disc. The bossa nova riff on "Pure Imagination" from the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory kick starts new life into a tune that seems to have been gathering undeserved dust for ages. The biggest surprise may be the Beatles cover of "Happiness Is A Warm Gun"/ "I Want You." While the Beatles songwriting ability was far more complex than some will give credit there are simply some Lennon/McCartney tunes that do not make that transition to anything remotely close to a tune with jazz sensibilities of any kind. This is not one...A more acoustic free form vocal bordering on the avaunt gard is beatnik chic and adds to the eclectic flair of this Bay area native.
The ability to make a smooth as silk transition from vocals including English, Spanish and Portuguese are a thing of beauty. A delightfully expressive gift that only a handful of pure Latin vocalists may be able to muster up. An impressive mix of variety of texture and flavor both as a vocalist and thanks to guitarist and arranger Ray Scott. An absolute winner across the board!
Tracks: Wild Is The Wind; Cuando Vuelva a Tu Lado; Happiness Is A Warm Gun/I Want You; Mais Que Nada; Paciencia; Dueno de mi Corazon; Al Empezar el Beguin; Everybody's Talking; Pure Imagination; E Preciso Perdoar; Paciencia; Dueno de mi Corazon.
Personnel: Anna Estrads: vocals; Ray Scott: guitar; Jonathan Alford: piano/rhodes; Alex Baum: bass; Peter Barshay: bass; Phil Thompson: drums; Beri Puhlovski: drums; Michaelle Goerlitz: percussion; Rich Kuhns: accordion/organ/rhodes; Tommy Kesecher: vibes/marimba; Ray Loeckle: tenor sax; Al Bent: trombone; Charlie McCarthy: tenor sax/flute; Edgardo Cambon and Sandy Cressman: backing vocals.