Considering how lauded Clarice Assad is as a composer -- as well as a pianist and singer renowned for her Brazilian scat technique -- it's perhaps remarkable that this is only her third solo disc. But she grabs the opportunity with both hands, showcasing not only her stunning interpretation of Brazilian songs -- four of them put together as a medley in the opener "For Elis," an homage to the great Elis Regina -- but also a couple of original compositions. She brings formidable piano and vocal technique to the music, and a singular vision that sees things in a unique way; her take on Gilberto Gil's "Patuscada de Ghandi" is simply her voice over a pair of percussionists, while "Dora" is treated with beautiful lushness. Her own "Ad Lib," which she's recorded in other configurations, is actually a gloriously tight work that gives a showcase to her pianistic and vocal abilities. "The Last Song," in a nice twist of irony, has no vocals, a loving instrumental that does ache. Everything here lives up to Assad's reputation, and even furthers it; she's a talent quite beyond compare. There's certainly no one like her in Brazilian music, and it's to be hoped that she makes another recorded outing very soon.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson