After establishing herself in the Brazilian and Japanese markets, singer Carol Saboya makes her opening bid to the American audi- ence with this, her ninth album. She essays the songs of Ivan Lins and Milton Nascimento in her small, girlish voice with its bell-like upper register. A pixie on one cut, seductress on the next, ingénue on another, Saboya alternates between Portuguese and English. Her rhythmic aplomb and melodic élan mark her as a treasure. The flawless enunciation of tongue-twisting lyrics to “Bola De Meia, Bola De Gude” amount to an unassuming tour de force.
Her father, pianist Antonio Adolfo, crafted production that puts her in the middle of an animated ensemble equally fluent in jazz and Brazilian. This album merits a listen for the supportive yet spirited band alone. The guests spice the mix: Soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman spins curlicue obbligati behind her on the vivacious “Tristesse” and boudoir tenor sax on the ballad “Tarde”—both by Nascimento. Harmonica epigrams and a narrative solo by Hendrik Meurkins add a layer of pathos to Lins’ “Doce Presença.”
As with the best singers, listeners needn’t understand the lyrics to be moved; her emotional transmission takes care of that. Make room for another fine Brazilian songbird. —Kirk Silsbee
Belezas: Bola De Meia, Bola De Gude; Who Is In Love Here (A Noite); Abre Alas; Tristesse; Beleza E Canção; Anima; Soberana Rosa; Doce Presença; Tarde; Trés Pontas; Velas Içadas; Estrela Guia. (52:06)
Personnel: Carol Saboya, vocals; Hendrik Meurkins, harmonica (8); Dave Liebman, soprano and tenor saxophone (4, 9); Antonio Adolfo, piano; Claudio Spiewak, acoustic and electric guitars; Jorge Helder, acoustic bass; Rafael Barata, drums, percussion.