María Márquez

Nature's Princess

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    8
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Maria Marquez has a haunting voice and sometimes sounds a little like Nina Simone and Cassandra Wilson tone-wise. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, and based in Oakland for years, Marquez utilizes some of the Bay Area's top "world jazz" musicians, including guitarist Andre Bush, pianist Omar Sosa, and percussionist John Santos among many others. While "Besame Mucho" is familiar, most of the other songs are lesser known but no less worthy. It might be a slight stretch to call Marquez a jazz singer, but her musicians definitely have jazz as part of their heritage, along with South American and Latin American folk songs. Even though she is generous in allocating solo space, Marquez is the main star and she is in top form on her third recording, giving very expressive treatments to the Spanish lyrics.

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