Picks and Pans Review: Sabia

updated 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/12/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Susannah McCorkle

It's lovely to hear Susannah McCorkle sing in any language. Fans got to sample her Portuguese in the "No More Blues" cut on her best album, The People You Never Get to Love. Sabia (Songbird), which is devoted almost exclusively to Brazilian music, has McCorkle, a former free-lance interpreter, in line accent and in fine, persuasive voice. So that's not the problem.

The problem is that however effective the songs are when heard alone—two shining examples are the wistful "Estate" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Vivo Sonhando"—heard together they lose much of their effectiveness. The ballads ("So Many Stars" and "Sabia") are dolorous in just the same way; the songs that are brighter of beat are spirited in the same way. Too much sameness of samba.

Still, there is Jobim's So Danço Samba, which McCorkle imbues with just the right measure of flirtatiousness. There is the delightful, delovely "Dilemma," to which she supplies a little-girlish quality—and English lyrics: "I'm in such a bad dilemma/ And I don't know what to do/ There is someone I'm in love with/ And I don't know if he loves me too." And. still, there is wonderful instrumental support, notably from Brazilian percussionist Cafe, from the late guitarist Emily Remler (in her last performance) and from the impeccable tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton. (Concord)

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