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Kat Parra - Songbook Of The Americas (2016)

12-06-2016, 18:03
Vocal Jazz | Latin | FLAC / APE

Title: Songbook Of The Americas
Year Of Release: 2016
Label: JazzMa Records
Genre: Latin Jazz, Vocals
Quality: FLAC | MP3
Total Time: 52:39
Total Size: 314 MB | 124 MB

1. (Four)Ever More (5:01)
2. Please Do Something (4:42)
3. Wouldn't It Be Sweet (Au Privave) (4:16)
4. Dare To Dream (4:38)
5. Maria Lando (5:50)
6. Veinte Anos (5:19)
7. Como La Cigarra (3:39)
8. Besame Mucho (6:39)
9. Till There Was You (5:16)
10. Dame La Mano (3:38)
11. Mambo Italiano (3:34)

Kat Parra is a jazz vocalist, composer, lyricist and arranger with an international perspective. Her style is strongly influenced by world music, especially from Latin America, Spain and the Middle East. Her latest project, SONGBOOK OF THE AMÉRICAS, is her fifth CD as a leader. The CD pays tribute to women composers from both North, Central and South America as well as original music and lyrics penned by Parra.
Accompanying Parra are some of the finest musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area, including her long-time collaborators, Grammy-nominated trombonist Wayne Wallace and pianist Murray Low, both stalwarts of the Latin jazz scene. She is also joined by special guests that include María Márquez, a popular singer from Venezuela, Nate Pruitt, a SF Bay Area living legend, and Tuck & Patti, who join Parra on her original tune “Dare to Dream.” Parra studied voice with Patti at San José State University and considers the singer to be her musical and spiritual mentor.
Although Parra began studying classical piano at the age of 5, it was her time spent in Chile as a teenager that sparked her passion for Latin music and opened her ears to the rhythms and textures of music of other cultures from around the world. Besides singing in English, Parra also performs in Spanish (which she speaks fluently), Portuguese, French, and Ladino (a romance language spoken by Sephardic Jews).
Parra’s voice is fluid and flexible as she imbues each of these songs with her own personality and style. Take, for example, Meredith Willson’s “Till There Was You.” Arranged by Low, the tune opens with a rumba section and a Canto de Ochún, which she sings with María Márquez. Parra says, “I chose to open with this chant to invoke Ochún – goddess of beauty and love – to help open our hearts to unconditional love.” Nate Pruitt adds his soulful voice to the tune in a lovely duet with Parra. Their voices intertwine and play off each other, creating a sweet and joyful version of the song that sets it apart.
Or listen to her version of Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s “Four.” She truly makes the song her own. Wallace created a swinging mambo arrangement that pairs beautifully with Parra’s original lyrics and vocalese section inspired by Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet. Parra then turns up the heat with a traditional call and response section sung in Spanish.
On Charlie Parker’s “Au Privave,” which Parra renamed “Wouldn’t It be Sweet?” she wrote original lyrics and a vocalese section over Parker’s solo. The only tune on this CD that isn’t in the Latin vein, Parra clearly shows her ability to swing and have fun with more traditional material.
Parra also re-works Betty Carter’s “Please Do Something,” adding a cha-cha groove and soli that highlight the song’s fun and sexy lyrics. “Mambo Italiano,” the closing tune, has a lively mambo groove that pays tribute to Israel "Cachao" Lopez.
Five of the songs on this CD originate from Latin America, including “Bésame Mucho,” “Como La Cigarra,” “María Landó,” “Veinte Años and “Dame La Mano.”
“Bésame Mucho” is probably one of the most performed and recorded songs in the world. The arrangement by Parra and Low takes the song to new and unexpected places with the addition of the shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese bamboo flute, played beautifully by Koga.
“Veinte Años” was written by Maria Teresa Vera, a Cuban singer, guitarist, and composer. Vera was a trovador, a kind of troubadour that toured around Cuba, singing and playing original compositions on guitar. The trova movement, which began in the 19th century, has had a great influence on Cuban music, and this song is one of the most popular examples from that era. Low gives this piece a more ethno-jazz feel rather than the traditional bolero, using odd meters to create tension and excitement.
“María Landó” was written by Chabuca Granda, a Peruvian singer and composer who was well known for writing and interpreting Criollo waltzes with Afro-Peruvian rhythms. Parra and Low took a very different approach to this song by using piano instead of the traditional guitar and adding cymbals along with the cajón.
“Como La Cigarra” was written by María Elena Walsh, an Argentine poet, novelist, musician, playwright, and composer. Walsh was a political activist, and the song became a symbol of the resistance to the military junta that came to power in the 1970s. Parra’s and Márquez’s voice blend to create just the right feel for this piece. According to Parra, “Having María Márquez join me on this song gave the music even more depth and beauty.”
Parra has always loved the literature of Chile as well as the music, especially the poetry of Gabriela Mistral, a diplomat, feminist, and Nobel Prize winner. Parra was inspired to compose music to Mistral’s “Dame La Mano,” a beautiful love song originally written as a poem for children.
SONGBOOK OF THE AMÉRCIAS is a richly textured musical journey that reflects Parra’s adventurous spirit. Drawing on a wide range of cultural influences, she creates music that is both familiar yet strikingly original.

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