Candejas by Com Você

Here is something from the 'refreshing surprise' department. Com Voce which is built around the vocal work of Maggie Grebowicz and the tenor saxophone of Stan Killian, is based on a revisiting of the Bossa Nova repertoire from a rather unique perspective. Although of Polish extraction, Grebowicz focuses on Brazilian music, singing almost exclusively in Portuguese. Although she is probably tired of hearing this, her a delivery and diction bear at least a superficial resemblance to Astrud Gilberto, whose recordings with Stan Getz and her husband Joao Gilberto did a lot to popularize the Bossa Nova in the 1960s. On closer listening the resemblance breaks down, however. Scott Yanow has it about right when writes that "Ms. Grebowicz has a soft sensuous sound without sounding as vulnerable as Astrud while Killian is a bit more muscular and modern than Getz."

Far from evoking the past, in fact, these interpretations have a very contemporary feel, due mainly to the fine solo work of Killian, Vieux, Hobizal and Langham. While more muscular than Getz, Killian is by no means another Coltrane clone. He has a voice of his own with an almost classical sonority at times. Vieux, who works with the likes of Tito Puente, Cedar Walton, Horace Silver, Eddie Palmieri and Patato Valdez has several forthright outings, and the two keyboard players add a harmonic richness to the proceedings. Langham who, with bassist Price, has been a sideman with Randy Brecker, Ravi Coltrane, Tom Harrell and Mike Stern, is a particularly effective soloist. Overall it is remarkable how these seemingly diverse elements fit together.

As for the material, there is full measure of Jobim, including "O Grande Amor," which I had not heard since Getz' Sweet Rain album until it appeared on flutist Bill McBirnie's recent offering. There are some less well-known Brazilian pieces such as Marcos Valle's "Samba de Ver���¯���¿���½o" and the title piece. And as a change of pace, Grebowitz throws in her gentle deconstruction of Gershwin's "S'wonderful." It all works, as the singer bends each piece to her unique styling, hands it off to the various soloists, and then reclaims it for a final rendering.

The only question in my mind is what Com Voce can do for a follow up. The stylistic area they have staked out is a rather narrow one. It will be interesting to see how many recordings it can support. And as Grebowitz and Killian have recently moved from Texas to Baltimore, so they will have to reconstitute their ensemble. But these are things for critics to fret about. For lovers of both jazz and Brazilian music, this is something fresh that deserves a hearing.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Com Você
  • CD Title: Candejas
  • Genre: Brazilian Jazz / Brazilian Pop Jazz
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Nocturne Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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