Picks and Pans Review: Aquarela Do Brasil
updated 11/21/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/21/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST
Dionne Warwick has been flirting with Brazilian-influenced pop for years. The melancholy, bossa-nova-tinged shuffle of such early Warwick singles as "Walk On By" and "You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)" made the singer seem like an American equivalent of Brazilian chanteuse Astrud Gilberto during the '60s.
Unfortunately she stumbles by going all the way with Aquarela do Brasil ("Watercolors of Brazil"). Though she exercises her usual good taste in material (such as Gilberto's "How Insensitive" and the Burt Bacharach-John Bettis-penned "Captives of the Heart"), Warwick's arrangements sometimes come dangerously close to jazzy lounge pop. Her alto—lacking in subtlety and upper range—also keeps letting her down. Aquarela does have some lovely moments ("Oh Bahia" and "Piano Na Mangueira"), but when Warwick finally offers a vivid, finely nuanced performance on "Heart of Brazil," her musical accompaniment sounds like the soundtrack to a cruise-ship commercial. (Arista)