A Noteworthy Debut
Raised in Miami and now living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sherie Julianne recently released her first solo album, 10 Degrees South, with solid arrangements by Brazilian pianist Marcos Silva, who has been her mentor for over 10 years at the Jazzschool in Berkeley. He brings his vast experience with such stars as Leny Andrade, Flora Purim, Airto, Emílio Santiago, Marcio Montarroyos, Ricardo Silveira, Dori Caymmi and several others to this well balanced repertoire produced by Sherie Julianne herself. Completing the band, we also have Scott Thompson (bass), Phil Thompson (drums), Jeff Buenz (guitar) — he has performed with the great Brazilian vocalist Cláudia Villela — and Mary Fettig (flute, alto sax).
Sherie Julianne’s Miami upbringing in a musical family set the foundation for her inspiring performances and love for Brazilian music. While studying dance, she couldn’t help but notice the richness of Brazilian rhythms. Once she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, she made the wise decision to take voice lessons at The Jazz School (now the California Jazz Conservatory). It was there she first encountered Brazilian pianist Marcos Silva. The musical affinity grew as she performed with Marcos’ group culminating with the release of 10 Degrees South. Sherie does not shy away from the fact she is “American, not Brazilian,” and that Brazilian music speaks to her American roots, she says. Her voice is captivating, luminous, tender and very secure in her phrasing and renditions.
10 Degrees South combines classic Brazilian songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Donato, Roberto Menescal with lesser known and also outstanding material by Danilo Caymmi, Chico Pinheiro, Moacir Santos, Sergio Mendes and even surprising arrangements of songs outside the Brazilian songbook. Sometimes singing in English and at times with her clear and nearly-perfect Portuguese accent, Sherie breezes through this repertoire with the confidence of her vocal abilities. She beautifully performs the Bossa Nova classic “O Pato” along with João Donato’s gems “Bananeira” and “A Rã.” Moacir Santos‘ “April Child” takes us back to the mystical Maracatú rhythms of the northeast of Brazil blending beautifully with a jazz twist. It is very fortunate for us listeners to hear that song performed with its Portuguese lyrics before Jeff Buenz does a superb guitar solo. To prove her confidence with this well blended repertoire, she shines with Paulo César Pinheiro’s poetry and Danilo Caymmi‘s song “Brasil Nativo.” The same goes for Chico Pinheiro‘s “Encontro.” In that track, guest performers Louis Fasman (trumpet), John Gove (trombone) and Melecio Magdaluyo (tenor sax) add a jazzy brass section solo. Her mentor and arranger Marcos Silva also contributes with the beautiful ballad “Painting.”
Of the two non-Brazilian tunes in the album — “Watch What Happens” and “The Look of Love” — credit must be given to Marcos Silva’s arrangements for making them sound like Brazilian classics. At the same time, it is Sherie’s extremely comfortable performance that makes “Watch What Happens” a jewel in this album. There is something in Sherie’s voice that captivates and allures you into her music. She quietly switches from English to Portuguese in “O Barquinho” without any distractions whatsoever. Her commanding performances are stellar.
Honey-like, her enunciation and timbre are perfect for this repertoire. I can only hope that we will continue to hear more from Sherie Julianne. She is not formulaic, and she brings her beautiful voice to a repertoire of her own, with just the right combination of classics and other Brazilian songs with beautiful arrangements and performances.
10 Degrees South
Azul do Mar Records 2014
- Bananeira (João Donato – Gilberto Gil)
- Watch What Happens (Michel Legrand – Jacques Demy – Norman Gimbel)
- O Pato (Jayme Silva – Neuza Teixeira)
- Bonita (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Ray Gilbert – Gene Lees)
- Brasil Nativo (Danilo Caymmi – Paulo César Pinheiro)
- A Rã (João Donato – Caetano Veloso)
- Encontro (Chico Pinheiro)
- Painting (Marcos Silva – Translation by Heather Davis)
- Maracatú, Nação do Amor (April Child) (Moacir Santos – Nei Lopes – Ray Evans – Jay Livingston)
- O Barquinho (Little Boat) (Roberto Menescal – Ronaldo Bôscoli – Buddy Kaye)
- The Look of Love (Burt Bacharach – Hal David – Magnus Skogsberg Tear)
- So Many Stars (Sergio Mendes – Alan Bergman – Marilyn Bergman)