Claudia Acuña

Luna

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Dropping the traditional jazz standards she dealt with on her two Verve efforts, Chilean vocalist Claudia Acuña reveals a more contemporary, R&B-infused Latin sound on her Maxjazz debut. Easily Acuña's most personal work to date, Luna once again displays her immense gift for delicately passionate vocals and interesting arrangements. Still utilizing the mellow, sensitive Fender Rhodes keyboard playing of longtime collaborator Jason Lindner, Acuña sings more Spanish on her third disc -- only Lindner's "Yesterday You and I" is sung in English -- and eschews any real straight-ahead jazz stylings for an almost fusion approach. That is not to say this is jazz-pop, but the delicate melodies do call to mind '70s Airto Moreira and the best Al Jarreau. While there are few if any outright jazz improvisations -- most of the tracks are under five minutes -- the music is still complex, literate, and sophisticated with deep harmonies that should appeal to hardcore jazz listeners and Latin music enthusiasts alike.

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