Christina Machado

Gone With the Wind

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Although she is of Cuban heritage, you would never know it either by the style or voice of Christina Machado as she handles a ten-item play list of familiar standards. She comes across as a fine jazz singer, American style. For the most part, the arrangements by producer Nicholas Payton are simple and unembellished, leaving the stage to the crystal-clear, vibrant voice of the singer. This is the case on a simple, straightforward, and right from the heart "I'm Old Fashioned." The musicians get a bigger piece of the pie on the title tune, "Gone With the Wind," with delicious solos from John Ellis on tenor and Roland Guerin on bass, which provide the segue for a wild, swinging entrance by Machado. One might have thought that "Wave" would have been the vehicle to show at least some of her below-the-border background. Rather, it's the place where sensuality and awakening come together. It is also one of the tracks on which the rhythm section of Michael Esneault, Guerin, and Adonis Rose get a chance for a bit of a jam session. Of course, producer Payton gets more than a bit of opportunity to strut his considerable stuff on trumpet and flügelhorn -- and even the trombone on one cut. His horn is especially telling on "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?," as he provides a melodic cushion for Machado. While her voice is not especially strong (she doesn't shout), Machado gets the most out of it with superb phrasing and spacing. She also has a special ability to use her accompanists to her best advantage, reminding them that they are there to emphasize the singer's wares, not their own. They fulfill this task with aplomb. A very good first outing and recommended.

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