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November 2, 2018

Far from the first and certainly not the last declaration of love for Brazilian music, more precisely to the part that is called melodious and elegant, like this music itself, in a word: bossa-new. Nevertheless, it is this project that amazes many. Probably the first thing that catches your eye is the scale. Work on it was more than three years. The project involved about 150 people, including along with musicians and sound engineers. The recordings were performed in six cities of the world on three continents: in Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, Atlanta, London, New York and Chicago. The second feature: a large number of outstanding musicians who took part in it. This includes such classics of Brazilian music such as Ivan Lins and Carlinhos Brown, and the lengendary jazz flutist Hubert Laws, and even 96-year-old legend of Brazilian samba Dona Ivone Lara. And besides them: Miles Davis himself, Antonio Carlos Jobim himself, Al Jarreau himself, Oscar Castro-Neves himself. Allow me, dumbfounded, the reader will say, but they have already ... died.

 

Yes of course. But the art of sound engineers made Davis play the trumpet at Corcovado, and Jobim and Jarreau sing in separate tracks. Of course, these are their authentic recordings, skillfully built into the context of the respective compositions. All the hard work was coordinated by Robert Hebert, Larry Williams, and Rod Temperton. Unfortunately, in the process of working on the album, a prominent British musician and producer Temperton, and the samba's grandmother Dona Ivone Lara also left this world ...

 

Well, and finally, it's time to move on to the first person of the project. The face is very pretty and belongs to American vocalist Alexandra Jackson, and the singer makes her debut with this grand album. True, for this debut, she is well prepared. Alexandra grew up in a very famous and very musical family. Her father Maynard Jackson was the first black mayor of Atlanta, and this, for a minute, Georgia, is the heart of the American South. Her aunt Mattiwilda Dobbs was the first opera singer to appear on the stage of La Scala in Malan, Italy. Alexandra herself lived in music since childhood and equally loved jazz, soul and bossa nova. To work on the project, she took special lessons of the Portuguese language, in order not only to learn the words, but also to feel the spirit of Brazil, to understand the mysterious language, without which the performance of any Brazilian song becomes only a miserable imitation of the original. And Alexandra Jackson did it all!

 

In the album she sings in both English and Portuguese. Amazon Farewell and A Felicidade, Corcovado and Girl from Ipanema sound like a real Brazilian woman! And in a number of songs, Jackson jazz, soul and bossa-nova somehow inexplicably coexist. Especially I would single out the final composition of this double album - Brazilica. This song, first performed by Ramsey Lewis in the 70s, in the version of Alexandra Jackson worthily crowns a great job. Jackson called her debut Legacy and Alchemy. Everything is clear with the legacy, but alchemy is probably the thing that helped Alexandra and her producers put together dozens of very different people into a single team, helped make the project giants of the past, such as Davis and Jobim, make the monument to Brazilian music truly spectacular.

 

 

Review by 

Leonid Auskern of Jazz Square 

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