Man, is this ever a south of the equator jazz-variegated disc!…um, even though Raquel Cepeda hails from Tejas. She starts out with a much-neglected aspect of vocal musics, that small slice of the off-tradition that marries melisma to encantation and ends up in a smoothly intriguing mode playing around with words and syllables, and then slides into the best version of Bésame Mucho I've ever heard, torchy and croony simultaneously, before getting festive all in your face in the celebrated Chega de Suadade, a latinate bossa honky-tonker that'll have you shredding the rug as you dance around the living room. But dig this: Raquel's a full-time geologist with a degree in Geological Engineering and working in the Texan oil industry. Yow! Brains, beauty, and a high degree of aesthetics all in one lovely package.
A number of musicians sit in and color up every cut here, but I was particularly impressed by Dennis Dotson's moody Kenny Wheeler-esque trumpet lines in several selections and then Bob Chadwick's zampona and quena solos in, dang it!, just one selection, Tonada de Luna Llena (man, I coulda dug hearing a lot more from this cat; what a sound he obtains!, especially as set off by Cepeda's wistful voice). Thankfully, Raquel keeps to Spanish lyrics in the pertinent songs and thus preserves fidelity, and improvised fidelity, to the characteristics of the language, then switches effortlessly to the tongue of los Americanos in cuts like Irving Berln's Dream a Little Dream of Me with co-producer Paul English's piano tinkling up a lounge bar's high register refrains.
But, guys, I'm warnin' ya now, don't listen to her self-penned title song I'm Confessin'. I'm telling you, and I ain't kidding around: don't! Unless, of course, you want to get all melty and gooshy and dreamy-eyed when Cepeda reminds you of the love of your life, present or hoped-for, in a sweetly melancholy track made all the more atmospheric in English's Mangione-esque flugelhorn interludes. DON'T LISTEN! Pass it right by, stay manly, and proceed to the closing cut, Corcavado/ Estate, which is…uh-oh…oh no!, it's just as romantic too!! Oh geez, now I'm gettin' all warm and misty-eyed. Okay, forget it, give in, ya can't win, just surrender and walk the garden path of all flesh 'cause, I'm finding out as my girlfriend walks in the door, there's all kindsa really cool rewards involved. Cepeda more than reminds us of that.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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