Isabelle Antena

Easy Does It

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Through a combination of DJ attention and reissues on the part of the LTM label, Isabella Antena found her profile in the U.S. and U.K. higher than ever in the mid-part of the 21st century's first decade. Easy Does It, a bossa nova album straight up, with Antena singing in English, French and Portuguese, was the beneficiary, showing that over time Antena's skillful, lovely singing hadn't lost any of its charm. Backed with a strong band, including her multi-instrumentalist husband Denis Moulin, while tackling clarinet and keyboard parts herself, Antena delivers a combination of reinterpretations and originals that all suggest a perfect, warm late-night setting under a full moon at the best seaside club imaginable. If in comparison to her earliest albums there's none of the immediate genre tweaking and overt adventurousness, this by no means undercuts the appeal of the end result -- perhaps signaled best by how her originals such as "A Rainbow (Can't Forever Be)" and "Fresh" fit in well among the covers and contributions from her musicians. "Nothing to Lose," a song by Claudine Longet from the cult '60s movie The Party, makes for a perfect album starter, while a cover of Jobim's "So Linha de Ser Com Voce" is another winner. A nice nod to the past, as explained in Antena's liner notes, occurs with "Your One and Only," which starts with a sample from her own "Musique a 4 & 6" -- another look back includes a version of Take Me to Paradise's "Stars," here performed, as Antena says, "as originally written," with a soaring trumpet start and a great beat to boot. A second disc, titled Issy Does It, features remixes of various album tracks by musicians worldwide -- noted Antena fanatics Thievery Corporation lead things off with a downtempo "Nothing to Lose," but the winner might be Nicola Conte's revamp of "Omerta Bossa," which features a Conte-led bossa band providing a totally new arrangement to the original vocals.

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