Picks and Pans Review: Made in New York
The U.S. hasn't really noticed a Brazilian woman singer since Astrud Gilberto, she of the sexily whispering voice, gained a following here during the Bossa Nova craze of the '60s. Maria doesn't have the benefit of being able to introduce to a wider audience the songs of Antonio Carlos Jobim, as Gilberto did. But Maria is probably the more resourceful singer. She has a stronger, more versatile voice, able to deal with scatting through the title tune on this LP, as well as performing Together with the delicate sense of wonder befitting a song about two people getting back together romantically. Maria co-wrote all the material on the album, mostly with English-speaking lyricists, and the LP has that slightly dreamy, sensuous quality Brazilian pop is known for. A few tracks, notably My Space, seem repetitive, with a key phrase or two ground away relentlessly. But Maria has a good ear for blending the distinctive rhythmic and melodic sounds of her native country with the liberating qualities of American jazz to create insinuating music. (Manhattan)
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