Classics at Ease
Boston based duo Anna Borges and Bill Ward, or Receita de Samba, have released their first album, and it comes packed with Brazilian classics. Although it is a comfortable and safe proposition for this undertaking, their album Receita de Samba succeeds for two obvious reason. First and foremost is the artists themselves. Anna and Bill take turns singing solos with very pleasing voices and gentle phrasing proving that for these classics little is certainly more. Second is the simple and straightforward arrangements supported by a small ensemble that clearly highlights the beauty of these tracks and their soloists.
Receita de Samba features Anna Borges on vocals, Bill Ward doing triple duty on vocals, guitar and piano, Amir Milstein on flute, Fernando Saci and Gabriel Meireles on percussion, José Pienasola on bass and Vinícius Pienasola on drums. Together they cook a good mixture of subtle sounds and swinging Bossa, Samba and more. Their recipe does work well.
Anna Borges, a native of Recife, Pernambuco, grew up listening to music by Chico Buarque, Maria Bethânia, Edu Lobo, Gonzaguinha, Luiz Gonzaga, Jackson do Pandeiro, Djavan, Leny Andrade, Ulisses Rocha, and Egberto Gismonti among many others. That eclectic musical upbringing was augmented with more contemporary names, such as Lenine,Paulinho Moska, Zeca Baleiro and Maria Gadú. Since she also sang in several choirs while living in Brasília, it was inevitable that a group such as Boca Livre would also be a part of her musical formation.
As for Bill Ward, his influence from U.S. jazz to the Brazilian Samba and Bossa came via familiar names that include Elis Regina, Margarete Menezes, Pixinguinha, Paulinho da Viola, Roberto Ribeiro, as well asTom Jobim, Edu Lobo, and Chico Buarque.
With brief incursions in forró and bolero, Receita de Samba is all about Bossa and, obviously, Samba. One reason for these particular music choices, as Anna says, comes from the area where the duo performs more regularly. Their audiences are more familiar with the classic Brazilian songbook and expect this type of repertoire. Nevertheless, Anna and Bill also included a brand new track, “Conselhos,” to spice up the mixture. That track was written in homage of the great Choro legend Waldir Azevedo, or the King of Cavaquinho, as Abath’s lyrics echo. Besides the captivating slow samba rhythm, Amir Milstein’s flute solo adds a nice evocative touch to the arrangement. Some of the lesser known pieces in the album, such as “Aquele Frevo Axê” and “Preconceito,” are in fact the best moments inReceita do Samba. The former opens with a melodious piano introduction that leads into Anna’s strong, and yet calming vocals. As for the latter, Bill Ward’s rendition is top notch. His perfect Portuguese enunciation is right on the mark.
Receita de Samba is a strong debut album with great potential. You can learn about the artists and this release by visiting them at MySpace.
Receita de Samba
Receita de Samba
- Vatapá (Dorival Caymmi)
- É Luxo Só (Ary Barroso – Luiz Peixoto)
- Aquele Frevo Axê (Caetano Veloso – César Mendes)
- Brasil Pandeiro (Assis Valente)
- O Vendedor de Caranguejo (Gordurinha)
- Preconceito (Fernando Lobo – Antônio Maria)
- E Vamos à Luta (Gonzaguinha)
- Eu Sambo Mesmo (Janet de Almeida)
- Conselhos (Mariza Abath)
- Falsa Baiana (Geraldo Pereira)
- Curare (Bororó)