Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Raquel Cepeda I'm Confessin' Peonia Music 2013

 To call Raquel Cepeda a diamond in the rough is fairly accurate if not slightly ironic given that Cepeda was pursuing a degree in Geological Engineering when music began to slowly take over. The end result being the loss to the field of Geology is certainly a plus for the music industry. The Venezuelan born Cepeda mixes standards, Latin and a subtle contemporary world music edge that separates her in the tightly clustered pack of female singers one must wade through in order to find those sparking diamonds that allow the listener to connect on a multitude of levels.

Kicking the release off with "East of The Sun" we have a tight walking bass line from Jeffrey Eckels which compliments the effortless phrasing where Cepeda plays catch and release with each note while Warren Sneed's soprano sax solo mixes in a more contemporary vibe that translates so well one would think Cepeda was a twenty year veteran instead of dropping a debut release. From the Great American Songbook to the classic Besamme Mucho which is brought down slightly in tempo with a exquisite arrangement featuring Paul English on piano. Another gem is a smoldering reharm on "Dream A Little Dream." Refined elegance. A warm presence and having all the stars in perfect alignment make I'm Confessin' an absolute delight.

I receive more female vocal recordings to review then perhaps any other category and often gripe that most are good but somewhat forgettable. As a critic you walk the fine line of musical prospector and Raquel Cepeda is certainly that shiny diamond that makes the time and research worth it. A gorgeous voice which may invoke thoughts of Elaine Elias on first spin, Cepeda is the real deal and her music stock has to be an arrow pointing straight up.

I'm Confessin' goes in the "memorable" pile without hesitation and for a debut release Cepeda should start turning some heads quickly!

4 Stars!

Tracks: East of the Sun; Besame Mucho; Chega de Saudade; These Foolish Things; Tonada de Luna Llena; Somos Novios; I Don't Know Enough About You; Dream A Little Dream of Me; How Deep Is The Ocean; Me Flechaste el Corazon; What Is This Thing Called Love?; I'm Confessin'; Corcovado/Estate.

Personnel: Raquel Cepeda: vocals; Bob Chadwick: flutes; David Caceres: alto/tenor sax; Warren Sneeds: tenor/soprano sax; Dennis Dotson: trumpet; Paul English: flugelhorn/trumpet,piano; Thomas Hulten: trombone; Brennen Nase & Guil Fonseca: guitar; Jeffrey Eckels: bass; Dean Macomber: drums; Jorge Orta, Tony Parana, James Metcalfe: percussion; Marcia Sterling&Oleg Sulyga: violin; Dan Strba: violin; Shino Hayashi: cello.