Masha Campagne,
Caminhos Cruzados (Crossroads)
(Impetus, 2007)

Masha Campagne is a native of Russia, but you could never tell from this CD of Brazilian jazz, her first recording.

Everything you expect from Brazil is here -- the light, breezy vocals, the Latin American beats, the rhythmic piano and the cool saxophone. It is almost a surprise to hear two of the songs in English: Cole Porter's "So In Love" and "It Might As Well Be Spring," although they have the same style as the rest of the CD.

The two Porter works are pretty familiar, but Campagne uses some lesser known Brazilian ones. Even on the Antonio Carlos Jobim medley, which is more than nine minutes long, she uses gems that are not heard as often as the late Brazilian composer's "hits."

Campagne uses different configurations of backup on the eight tracks, from a string quartet with piano and bass to just piano. Accordion, acoustic guitar, percussion and alto, tenor and soprano sax appear in various songs. They all provide a fine framework for her elegant voice. And there is freedom in the arrangements for some tasteful instrumental solos, since this is jazz, after all.

This is not an interpretation of the music of Brazil, but a CD that captures its soul.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Dave Howell

16 August 2008

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