While Badi Assad isn't a jazz singer per se, the singer/acoustic guitarist clearly thrives on improvisation and spontaneity. This is no doubt one of the main reasons she ended up on the jazz-oriented Chesky Records. When Rhythms was recorded at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in New York, Chesky treated the project much as it would treat a jazz recording -- the tape was rolling, and Assad was encouraged to simply let loose and blow. No overdubbing took place, and this very honest and straightforward approach makes for a riveting listen on songs by Chico César, Marco Pereira and other Brazilian composers. Although the vast majority of her influences are Brazilian, Assad's Lebanese heritage is a definite advantage on the magnificent and varied Rhythms.
by Alex Henderson