Saturday, June 1, 2013

Annie Kozuch Mostly Jobim 2013

Can a singer with a theatre background and experience doing voice over work find artistic success with a self produced sophomore effort that mostly covers Antonio Carlos Jobim?

Kozuch received some well deserved critical acclaim on her first release Here With You. Attempting to include nine out of ten covers of Jobim ( thus the title Mostly Jobim ) raises the stakes and leaves virtually no room for error. Returning from her first release we have bassist and drummer Saadi Zain and Vito Lesczak, flautist and tenor saxophonist Cecilia Tenconi and Annie's musical director and pianist Frank Ponzio. The band receives high marks and the arrangements are intimate and warm thanks to the addition of legendary Brazilian percussionist 'Cafe' and acoustic guitarist Sean Harkness. The Bossa Nova authenticity is firmly entrenched and the music will take you on that bright and breezy Brazilian vibe that continues to influence artists today.

Annie Kozuch has a pristine voice with impeccable phrasing and delivery, perhaps too much to make the transition to the more organic presentation needed here. Kozuch is a vocal technician hitting all the right notes but there is a slight disconnect with the material not due to the lack of ability on the part of Kozuch and while somewhat unexpected due to her Latin American upbringing but perhaps influence by her extensive work in theatre, television and film. What you don't use you lose.

The opening tune "Waters of March / Aguas de Marco" is performed both in English and Portuguese with the transition between the two less than seamless. Conversly, "Wave" is performed entirely in English and Kozuch gives a stellar performance where the serene nature of the tune is the perfect counterpoint to the emotional angst delivered so eloquently by Kozuch. The one non-Jobim tune is Marco Valle's "So Nice" with lyrics by acclaimed American lyricist Norman Gimbel. Kozuch nails down and firmly captures the essence of the intended Brazilian flavor with a captivating style and flair that was well worth the wait.

A few hiccups along the way and much like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree all it needs is a little love so...overall a solid entertaining effort...4 stars.

Tracks: Wave; A Felicidade; Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar; I Know I'll Love You So; So Nice; Desafinado; Someone To Light Up My Life; Girl From Ipanema; How Insensitive / Insensatez; A Gua De Beber.