Havana and Paris come together to form a special and incredibly unique sonic profile with some world music flavor added for texture with Raquel Bitton's latest release, Rhythm of The Heart.
Havana meets Paris? Not as odd as some may think given Cuban music traces its roots from Europe and Africa. Bitton is joined by a smoking hot Afro-Cuban band including members of the San Francisco Symphony and does her own riff (in French) on sambas, bossa novas, cha-chas, and tangos of the iconic Latin singer Tino Rossi.
A common misconception is that one may need to know a little French to fully appreciate a release that marries old Havana with a slightly more contemporary European flair. Nonsense.
Rhythm of The Heart succeeds thanks to the phrasing, timing and rich color pallet from which Raquel Bitton pulls and displays her solid vocal chops. Another key to success is the intentional mix of rhythm and groove. Pulling the musical roots from two different continents into one harmonious presentation is never easy but Bitton pulls it off with flair and an indescribable joy for a release that despite the rather large ensemble maintains an old world intimacy and charm that borders on the addictive.
There compositions here cover a wide range of emotions and pay fitting tribute to the great Tino Rossi who was a genuine movie heartthrob in his day. Often referred to as the Rudof Valentino of song. Combining jazz, Latin jazz, world and french music is never easy while similar artists have attempted to bring the gap between some of these genres the end result is normally stiff and lackluster by comparison.
Taste is of course subjective but for those that dig Latin jazz along with the influence of the Astor Piazzolla tangos this is the perfect marriage of genres by an incredibly well respected and critically acclaimed vocalist in Raquel Bitton.
Tracks: Il Pleut Sur La Route; Le Secret De Tes Caresses; Un Violon Dans La Nuit; Merci Pour Tes Fleurs; Pardonne Moi; Guitarra Mia; Bonjour Tristesse; Plus Je Vous Aime; Tango Melodie; J'Ai Garde Ta Photo Sur Mon Coeur; Il Est Trop Tard; Tout Bleu.
Personnel: Ramon Stagnaro: acoustic guitar; Rebeca Mauleon: piano; Carlos del Puerto Jr.: bass; Jimmy Branly: drums; Orestes Vilato: timbalist; Jesus Diaz: congas. 21 piece Orchestra from The San Francisco Symphony
If the cover art looks familiar thank Martin French (Los Lobos, The Chronicle of Narnia).
Special Thanks to Michael Bloom of Michael Bloom Media Relations.