Maucha Adnet & Helio Alves: Milagre (2013)
Many people think Maucha Adnet is the most soulful Brazilian vocalist performing today; certainly her voice is warm, textured, and sexy, and her delivery is passionate, classy, and informed by a keen musical intelligence. (Fellow singers will also appreciate her great diction and pitch, awesome breath control, and masterful way with a triangle). The great Antonio Carlos Jobim knew all this, choosing to perform and record with Adnet for the last decade of his life.
Adnet and the fine pianist Helio Alves first worked together in 1993, and his elegant, responsive playing is her perfect complement. In fact, part of the "Milagre" (Miracle) of the album's title may be that these two in-demand artists found time to record together at all. Adnet's last recording as leader was The Jobim Songbook (Kind of Blue Records, 2006).
Jobim is represented here with the beautiful "Caminhos Cruzados," the cinematic and rarely recorded "Gabriela," the poignant "Retrato em Branco e Preto," and the popular "Waters of March," with its "psychedelic" English lyrics (I wish I could take credit for that perfect description of Jobim's word salad, but it came from impresario and liner-writer Todd Barkan).
The set provides a rich sampling of other celebrated Brazilian composers, including Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Edu Lobo, Toninho Horta, both Dori and Dorival Caymmi, and the ever-mischievous Hermeto Pascoal. Maucha caresses the lovely "Desafinada," written by her brother Mario Adnet (no, there's no typo in that title) and the duo even re-imagines the Carmen Miranda classic, "Tico-Tico No Fuba."
Despite being a lifelong Brazil nut, until now I never heard a vocal version of the gorgeously aching "Canto Triste"; also new to me is "April Child," an intriguing Moacir Santos tune with lyrics by the legendary team of Jay Livingston and Ray Evans ("Mona Lisa," "Never Let Me Go"). To top it off, Milagre is recorded with such intimate clarity that it seems the performance is happening live, and right in front of the listener. Wonderful!
Track Listing: O Cantador; Eu Vim Da Bahia; Waters Of March; Gabriela; Retracto Em Branco E Preto; Coração Vagabundo; Caminhos Cruzados; Vale Do Ribeira; Desafinada; Amor Infinito/Bons Amigos; Milagre; Tico-Tico No Fubá; Canto Triste; April Child.
Personnel: Maucha Adnet: vocals, percussion (8, 12, 14); Helio Alves: piano.
Record Label: Zoho Music