I was turned onto Concha's uniquely expressive voice, musicality, and unerring taste a few weeks ago and, I warn you, she's addictive. She sings the music that moves her, whether it's (jazzy) American standards, Mexican rancheras, flamenco or Spanish coplas, and manages to slip into the skin of each style and make the song her own. Just her rendition of Misty on this disc makes me want to hear her do a whole album of American standards (even with the occasional mishits on the English). Jazz purists might not be persuaded (I hear gospel and soul/r&b influences, although without the showy vibrato), but I find her covers powerful (and the lady can scat), musically sensitive, thoughtful, and expressive (but without histrionics). Jacob Sureda's piano accompaniment is assured, sensitive, pared down, and winning. There's variety in musical selection on this disc (including a flamenco song and what sounds like a song inspired by Concha's parents' African homeland, Equatorial Guinea, an often-overlooked Spanish-speaking country in central Africa), as there is on everything Concha does. Her Niña de fuego (more flamenco, but with an extraordinary cover of the Mexican ranchera classic Volver, volver) and Ultimo trago (Afrocuban jazz arrangements of mainly Mexican rancheras and Spanish coplas) discs are also uniformly excellent. The arrangements and accompaniment invariably highlight rather than overwhelm the extraordinary voice, offer fresh angles on standards, and bring out something essential in the music and lyrics.
This Spanish diva is special.