on 14 September 2008
Brazilian jazz at its most exhilarating: Sabrina Malheiros has come up with a shimmering cluster of Nu Bossa pearls - each original composition providing a perfect vehicle for the funky Rio jazz-samba that pervades the album. The production is flawless and generous - an expertly-crafted capoeira of guitars, horns, flutes, Alex Malheiros bass and multi-instrumental percussion. Yes, the pulsating grooves are infectious - but the knockout blow comes with Sabrina's blissful melodies, effortlessly sung with a blend of Brazilian insouciance, energy and feeling. Highly recommended!
on 5 October 2012
This CD is sonically delightful. Sabrina Malheiros has carried the potential of her debut "Equilibrium" and moved it up another level. Her voice is more prominent this time as percussion has been toned down. The program is well thought out with an excellent mix of styles which offers something for listeners as well as dancers, and Sabrina has written or co-written everything on the album other than Carole King's "It's Too Late". She's also been credited with having a hand in half of the arrangements.
She's obviously a very talented young lady with a dad in the business who presumably knows all the right people. Judging by the superb sonics she's apparently got a record label who are willing to come up with the necessary financial backing so the sky's the limit for Ms Malheiros. Which is why I don't agree with the reviewers who have given this 5 stars - I'm convinced she can do a lot better than this!
Many of her songs don't have an easily recognisable chorus or middle eight. This leaves either short songs, boring repetition, or production tricks and instrumental passages. This album has several examples of each! The title track is more like an Azymuth number because Sabrina does little more than sing "New Morning" over and over. "Nuances" is a filler based on .... a repeated handclap! Hardly the stuff of 5 star albums! The lush strings on several cuts (the opener for example) sound schmaltzy and are no longer essential in modern vibrant Latin music.
Listening on headphones a few nights back it struck me that there are comparatively long passages on a couple of songs where Sabrina doesn't sing. "New Morning" therefore tells more about the musical personality of its arranger and main producer than it does of Sabrina. "It's Too Late" sounds lovely, with a superlative backing track, but Sabrina sticks slavishly to the melody and there's not any effort to improvise.
I have the benefit of buying this and the follow up "Dreaming" together. If I sound ultra critical it is only because I'm trying to articulate why I find the newer album so much more rewarding. "Dreaming" has better songs and her voice and personality positively sparkle throughout.
My favourite songs on this album are "Nova Estacao" where production is pared back and double-tracked vocals and a lovely choral harmony line adds brilliantly to a simple melody, and "Eira Nem Beira" which has an African influence, but "Connexão" with its insistent beat and overblown strings is an example of the over reliance on production that, for me, detracts from the album's musicality. "Alem do Sol" is another simpler tune based around a guitar arpeggio with good use of vocals, but it suffers from only having one single idea. Several tracks on this album would have benefitted from the input of extra musical ideas as counterpoint.
3.9 stars, but still (along with Roberta Sa) well ahead of all the other current Bossa "divas" !
on 15 October 2008
I absolutely love this album. I love it even more than Sabrina's first album (Equilibria) although that is brilliant too. I can highly recommend it to anyone who loves modern brazilian music. It's fresh and when you listen to it you might think that summer is here, even on a cold winter day.