Thursday, July 2, 2015

(Bossa) Nova on a Bagel

Khevre –

When I think of Brazilian music the first word that pops into my head is “silky.” I know that this is hardly the word that characterizes tropicalia, or Brazilian hip-hop or forro, so maybe I’m dating myself. As Steve and Eydie would say, blame it on the bossa nova.

You are undoubtedly asking yourself, “What does this have to do with Jewish music, purportedly the subject of this blog?”

To answer that question simply, the new CD “Raízes/Roots” by the Brazilian-Jewish singer Nicole Borger (billed by her first name only), is a collection of Yiddish classics re-imagined in a variety of Brazilian forms, and Nicole’s smoky alto is, well, silky. The album, released on the Soundbrush label, is an easy-to-take confection that turns 

“Abi Gezunt” into a bossa nova, “Com Saúde” and “Bulbes” into a funky “Batatas.” The band is first-rate, with such familiar downtowners as Cyro Baptista and Brandon Seabrook, and a lit of guests that will seem even more familiar: Frank London (who produced and arranged the set), Lorin Sklamberg, Michael Winograd, Jake Shulman-Ment and others. 

Nicole herself is a laid-back contemporary version of Gal Costa, perhaps, with an easy loping swing and a nicely judged sense of humor. Her duet with Sklamberg on “Nova Dança” (“Der Nayer Sher” to you), is downright giddy and an excellent close to a very pleasant set. 

Sadly, due to the vagaries of the U.S. mail, I was unable to post this before the CD launch gig last weekend, but you can get the album and hope that Nicole makes it back to NYC very soon.

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