The story of Daniela Mercury (Salvador, Bahia, 1965) is told many times: how she fell in love with dancing at a very young age; how she entered the world of singers through bars, pubs and, most crucial, the famous trio elétricos, the impressive mobile stages used in Salvador’s carnival parades. The combination of singing and dancing has always been Daniela’s trademark. As performer of the danceable axé music she conquered Brazil and the world. Her concerts are always a joy to visit. Her very intensive training as a dancer made it possible for Daniela to impress as a singing dancer. She seems never out of breath, always singing with the right timing, switching microphone from one hand to the other. Sometimes I suspect Daniela covers difficult vocal moments with a louder voice. And unfortunately, that suspicion is demonstrating the weakness of this new album.
On this live recorded cd Clássica, Daniela dives into a completely different repertoire. In São Paulo’s jazz and blues club “Bourbon Street,” she ventured upon the repertoire of Brazilian evergreens like “Brigas Nunca Mais” (Jobim – de Moraes), “Serrado” (Djavan) and “Atrás da Porta (Buarque – Hime). In fact, she goes back to her younger years, since this is the repertoire she then explored. The band is outstanding. It’s a pure delight how this septet of musicians accompanies the singer. They mix very Brazilian elements to underline some sentiments of the classic songs. The band is formed around the rhythm section of “Os Melódicos,” the Bahian jazz band, led by Ivan Huol (drums and percussion) with Ldson Galter (acoustic bass) and Marcelo Galter (piano, keyboards). They are no strangers to this repertoire. From Daniela’s own band guitarist Gerson Silva, percussionist Rudson Daniel and backing vocalists Joelma Silva and Gil Alves are represented. They, too, show an excellence in the music as performed here.
The cd opens with a surprising rendition of “And I Love Her,” the Lennon and McCartney composition. This arrangement starts as a slow ballad and switches over to its usual rhythm, heavenly supported by the Bahia referred percussion. The following Carlinhos Brown composition, “Covered Saints,” is performed in the best jazz tradition: smooth backing vocals and beautiful acoustic guitar solo. Daniela sounds good, mainly using the dark and modest side of her voice. Daniela’s own composition “Maria Clara” also gets a perfect jazzy bossa nova arrangement as does “Retrato em Branco e Preto.” On “Atrás da Porta,” things go seriously wrong. The beautiful and touching Chico Buarque and Francis Hime composition gets bogged down in boundless and misplaced vocal improvisation. Djavan’s “Serrado” has more luck, although here, too, the singer loses control over the song. It’s a pity how she destroys astonishing soloing by all the instrumentalists. It’s here that you’re made very curious about an instrumental album by this bunch of very talented musicians. On “Sua Estupidez,” Daniela is vocally supported by her sister Vania Abreu, only accompanied by the acoustic guitar of another guest musician, Paulo Dáflin. It’s one of the better moments on this album. Gilberto Gil’s “Se Eu Quiser Falar Com Deus” could qualify under that nomination, too. Daniela Mercury has a beautiful timbre for these evergreens, but unfortunately she sometimes forgets that raising her voice to a level disturbs easy listening. It’s also what irritates on “Corsário.” Maybe it would have been better to record this album in the convenience of a studio, where the vocal shortcomings of Daniela can be adjusted.
Nevertheless, it’s interesting to hear the jazzy side of Daniela Mercury. But it’s clear that Daniela needs to mature more to be able to perform this kind of music. Being a pop star is one thing, being a jazz diva is something completely different.
Som Livre 0185-2 (2005)
- And I Love Her (John Lennon – Paul McCartney
- Covered Saints (Carlinhos Brown)
- Maria Clara (Daniela Mercury)
- Retrato em Branco e Preto (Chico Buarque – Tom Jobim)
- Brigas Nunca Mais (Tom Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
- Atrás da Porta (Chico Buarque – Francis Hime)
- Serrado (Djavan)
- Derradeira Primavera (Tom Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
- Sua Estupidez (Roberto Carlos – Erasmo Carlos)
- Aeromoça (Daniela Mercury – Gabriel Povoas)
- Vapor Barato ((Wally Salomão – Jards Macalé)
- Se Eu Quiser Falar Com Deus (Gilberto Gil)
- Corsário (João Bosco – Aldir Blanc)
- Divino Maravilhoso (Gilberto Gil – Caetano Veloso)