CéU: Vira Lata
Vagarosa (Six Degrees 657036)
Luiz Melodia (vocals), Rodrigo Campos (pandeirao, tamborim, cavaco), Sidnei Borgani (trombone), Ubaldo Versolato (baritone sax, flute), Nahor Gomes (flugelhorn),.
Horns arranged by Beto Villares. Composed by CéU.
Recorded: São Paulo, CD released in 2009
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
It's been a comedown for CéU. Her last CD enjoyed a cross-promotion with a Starbucks coffee bean sub-brand, and her visage with its "come hither" glance showed up on cardboard displays in ten thousand stores. Not this time. But her music is still heavily caffeinated, even if it no longer arrives with your morning java. Here she is joined by Luiz Melodia, a singer whose work I first encountered during a visit to Rio some years back, but whose rich baritone is not as well known as it should be outside of the region. Imagine a Brazilian Johnny Hartman or Billy Eckstine, and you will get some sense of his very appealing approach. The horn arrangements here are pop-oriented, and the rhythm section is more subdued than one normally hears with CéU. But the vocals are first-rate and the interplay between the two singers makes one wish that Melodia (what a perfect name for this artist!) showed up elsewhere on this CD, and not just this track. And while we are talking about names, when will CéU's handlers agree on the spelling of hers? Half the press material has the 'U' capitalized and the rest lower case. With just three letters, it should be possible to reach a consensus, huh? There's no confusion about the music, however, and this artist looks like she has the staying power to build a significant global following.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia