3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Five HUGE Stars!! Elis Regina, Brazil's SuperDiva, is stunning in a landmark London studio session. Singing in both Portuguese and English, her astounding singing capabilities carry over in both languages fully displaying her power & technique. This CD should open up her extensive Portuguese discography to those who might have previously been hesitant to investigate what all of the adulation is about. Fear not, her musicianship almost makes words useless. She was simply one of the world's greatest singers and on this CD she's on fire and clearly enjoying herself. It's also clear that Musical Director Peter Knight and the orchestra understood the unique Brazilian popular music (MPB) idiom and provide outstanding support, including strings, giving Elis a more 'continental' sound this time. The predominant beats are either a driving afro-cuban beat or a smoking samba beat on the uptempo numbers, which give different rhythmic frameworks for her to work within.
Elis' vocal twists and turns in "Corrida de Jangada" immediately sets the tone for the session, showing her articulation speed, power and range, while masterfully playing with the beat. The orchestral arrangement gives an airy, expansive feel to the song, more so than the version on the "Aquarela do Brasil" CD. "Giro" shows her total capabilities as she sings solo and with the orchestra in a thrilling performance. "A Volta" (The Return) is pure sensuality that has a very emotional Elis singing in that 'special' voice that she reserves for these sultry ballads: you may have to hose down your CD player on this one. Kudos to the sax and trombone soloists for their soaring cameo contributions.
"A Time for Love, "Watch What Happens", and "How Insensitive" are in wonderfully nuanced English, while "Wave" and "Voce" (You) are in both languages. All are superb performances and it's clear she's not singing phonetically, but from the heart.
Pieces De Resistance: "O Barquinho" (The LIttle Boat) is taken at a unusually fast beat with Elis, riding above the rhythm, creating a wild stretching effect. "Zazueira" is multi-tracked voice as Elis 'sings with herself' using some amazing stratospheric effects. "Wave" is sung in Portuguese, switching to English for the second pass of the bridge and then back to Portuguese. And a fabulous reading of "Upa Neguinho" (Little Black Boy) boils over with an insistent beat that shifts back and forth under Elis' fragmented dynamic reading with those beautiful high notes. WOW, notice how she relentlessly drives the orchestra with her voice and almost flamenco-like hand clapping. What a performance! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Five INTERNATIONAL Stars.
(Sadly, Elis' tragic accidental death in 1982 robbed us of at least 30 more years of magnificence and plunged Brazil (and us) into permanent bereavement. Now her multiple Latin Grammy-winning daughter, Maria Rita, has Brazil spellbound all over again.)