Tania Maria

Viva Brazil

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Brazilian singer/pianist/composer Tania Maria launched her career in France in the 1970s and sounds as energetic as ever. One of the original crossover artists, she combines classic Brazilian rhythms and sensibility with funk, jazz, pop, and a splash of rock & roll. Tania Maria is instantly recognizable: nobody would confuse her strong, lusty, distinctive voice and playful piano style (including those dissonant three-note fills) with anyone else. This CD contains one of her signature tunes, "It's Only Love," updated with Cacao's soulful sax as well as some experiments. There's a percussion-infused version of Sidney Bechet's well-known "Petite Fleur," which works so well it's the highlight of the CD, and a slow ballad take on "One Note Samba," which doesn't. The melody simply isn't interesting enough to elongate. But there are better moments here: the funky bass work and churning percussion on "Encanto Meu," "Nao Se Avexe Nao," and "Sangria," which is served up hot, with Tania Maria's fiery, Cuban-style solo and comping; the syncopated party pulse on "Vem Pr'a Roda"; and the sexy, laid-back swing on "Amei Demais." Her singing is so expressive it makes one wish that English translations of the lyrics were provided. Tania Maria's mischievous humor really comes out in her electrifying live performances, but there are hints of it here in her laughing countdown to one track and the background chorus of "Whoa!" on another. This veteran is one of a kind, and this CD is a good introduction to her sound and a must-have for fans.

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