I'll be changing my middle name to "bossa nova" now just to be done with it.
Brazilian music in general has genres, sub genres, regional sub genres and even local sub genres depending on what part of the country you may be visiting. Purists look for authenticity and judge recordings and performance heavily on technical merit while letting the buoyant spirit of the music fly right over their heads or in some cases between their ears but you feel me.
Sweet Happy Life finds the musical happy place between the more authentic and the slightly more North American pop or accessible side of the bossa nova with the incredibly talented vocals of Connie Evingson. A stellar tribute to the often over looked Grammy and Oscar winning songwriter Norman Gimbel whose influence runs from Roberta Flack's monster hit "Killing Me Softly With His Song" to collaborations with Brazilian legends Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfa. Both the Flack classic and Evingson's riff on "The Girl From Ipanema" could easily find their way on some Adult Contemporary and some jazz stations willing to expand their play list past the pretentious vibe riddled format that is/was smooth jazz. First call musicians provide the perfect back drop as Evingson gives a master class in flair, phrasing and the vocal articulation necessary to make this music really sing. A rare Jobim ballad "Ohla Maria" receives its much deserved recording debut here. "So Nice" a subtle and sensuous ballad is delivered with an acoustic oriented flavor that adds that special texture to make a good release even better.
When it comes to doing a "tribute" release or an iconic songbook collection there are pretenders looking for a quick hit and an easy check and then there is Connie Evingson who is the real deal. It's hard to miss when you have got good material and the chops to back it up with!
5 Stars. Incredibly entertaining!
Tracks: Agua de Beber; Meditation; Slow Hot Wind; Sweet Happy Life; Killing Me Softly With His Song; Canadian Sunset; Watch What Happens; The Girl From Ipanema; Sway; Bluesette; How Insensitive; Take Me To Aruanda; So Nice; Adventure; I Will Wait For You; Tristeza.
Personnel: Connie Evingson: vocals; Danny Embrey: guitar; Joan Griffith: guitar; Andreas Oberg: guitar; Laura Caviani: piano; Tanner Taylor: piano; Phil Aaron: piano; Bob Bowman: bass; Gordon Johnson: bass, background vocals; Ryan Cross: bass; David Schmalenberger: drums; Joe Pulice: drums, percussion; Phil Hey: drums; Rob Perkins: drums; Dave Karr: saxophone, clarinet, flute; Randy Sabien: violin, mandolin; Josh Alvaro: percussion; Miles Hanson: percussion; Lucia Newell: background vocals.
Special Thanks to Michael Bloom at Michael Bloom Media Relations!