Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"As romance goes, the cross connection couldn't be more appropriate. Vocalist Carmen Cuesta celebrates bossa nova, that elegant blend of Brazilian song and North American jazz. Mi Bossa Nova (Tweety Records, 2011) is a collection of 11 titles, seven of them written by renowned Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Cuesta's core accompanists are pianist Matt King, drummer Brian Dunne , percussionist David Charles and her husband, guitarist Chuck Loeb, who also plays keyboards and, on selected tracks, bass. Bassist Christian Diener appears on several songs.
"Jobim" is Cuesta's tribute to the artist whose music provides the deepest inspiration for Cuesta. Cuesta's blends well with the flutes. The lyrics provide hints of Jobim's great songwriting, mentioning locations like Copacabana, Ipanema and Corcovado, as well as the "waters of March." The song features flutists David Mann, Christina Loeb and Lizzy Loeb.
Howard Levy provides the harmonica for "Tormenta," a charming, yet brooding appeal for the rain to wash away the sorrow. Levy provides fills after vocal phrases and also has the middle solo. Though the lyrics are sad, the melody is lovely.
Born in Madrid, Spain, Cuesta fell in love with bossa nova upon hearing the Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto/Astrud Gilberto recording of "Girl from Ipanema," recognized by many as the definitive song that popularized the style. In 1979, she met Loeb, who was touring with Getz. When the couple married, Getz was the best man. Over the years, Cuesta has accompanied Grover Washington Jr., Michael Franks, Gato Barbieri, Peabo Bryson, Earl Klugh and many others.
The inspiration for Mi Bossa Nova came during a 20-show tour of the U.S. East Coast, during which Cuesta and Loeb performed the music that brought them together."- smooth-jazz.de
"an artist of distinct class, with a rich warm palette of sounds and musicians" - ArtsBoston
Personnel: Chuck Loeb (guitar, keyboards); Matt King (piano); Brian Dunne (drums); David Charles (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Klaus Genuit.
Liner Note Author: Carmen Cuesta.
Recording information: Automotive Recording South, Hilton Head Island, SC.
Photographer: Christina Loeb.
The Spanish singer Carmen Cuesta has long had a love for the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim and other bossa nova composers, though her earlier CDs have focused more on originals co-written with her husband, guitarist Chuck Loeb. But bossa nova reigns supreme on this 2011 release, with Loeb contributing well-produced backgrounds for Cuesta's fresh, pleasing alto voice. Initially she worked on translating the Portuguese lyrics into Spanish, only to be stymied by legal issues after she was well underway with her work. In any case, Cuesta is able to convey the elegance of these timeless melodies. Her vocals capture the longing of the lyric to "Retrato em Branco e Preto" in a heartfelt performance. Cuesta is equally sensual in her interpretation of "Meditaçao." Her flawless rendition of Luis Bonfá's "Manha de Carnaval" could easily be used in a film soundtrack. Cuesta and Loeb's daughters Christina and Lizzy are added on flutes for their mother's "Jobim," her warm tribute to her inspiration for this CD. Throughout the date, Chuck Loeb's orchestrations and acoustic guitar solos add to the beauty of Carmen Cuesta's performances. It's easy to understand why they enjoy making music together as documented in Mi Bossa Nova. ~ Ken Dryden
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