Badi Assad

Chameleon

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AllMusic Review by

Badi Assad (bah-JEE ah-SAHJ) is very chameleon-like in her protean, changing character. On the fun, energetic opener "Rhythms of the World" Assad gives us worldbeat, acoustic guitar pieces with jazzy, almost scat-like vocals. Things are peaceful and serene for the instrumental (acoustic guitar, flute and percussion) "Butterfly." Lee Ritenour appears on guitar synthesizer for "Waves," while Assad, the multi-instrumentalist, syncopates a guitar pattern with her right hand and simultaneously performs a marimba solo with her left hand. For this piece, Assad provides breathy vocalizations and Portuguese vocals that recall Astrud Gilberto and some light bossa nova. The simple arrangements of guitar and vocals on her own "Ai Que Saudade d'Oce" and "Naked" are the most moving pieces here. Her delicate, expressive vocals and flamenco-tinged, acoustic guitar phrases are simply beautiful. Assad is sibling to the world music acoustic guitar pair Duo Assad. A fascinating showcase for her extraordinary ability is the rendition of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Finding new sadness and beauty in the piece, she performs an arrangement that includes bass and exotic percussion, including subtle chimes. Her elegant, lilting lyric and exquisite guitar work make for a truly winning combination on this peerless Brazilian album. [A Japanese version of Chameleon adds a bonus track.]

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