I have always wanted to expand my listening repertoire beyond the traditional jazz ballads/balladeers. It seems as I discover new singers in the idiom I keep hearing many of the same traditional ballads being redone in much the same way. This is great to a point but a little spice of the Latin variety sure wouldn’t hurt. In that regards, I've done a little research and discovered Yasmin Levy (Landino, flamenco). Her album, Sentir blows me away. The recording quality is quite good too. I also like Brazilian Ceu (samba, reggae, jazz) on her self-titled album. Ojos de Bruja are also doing interesting stuff. None of these can be called jazz in the traditional sense but good nonetheless.
Concha Buika's collaboration with Chucho Valdes is another great find. Fantastic synergy between Concha and Chucho here, with very good sound quality as well. Others I have manage to sought out so far are Mexican singers Lhasa, Lila Downs,Chavela Vargas and Argentinian Mercedes Souza.
I'd be interested to hear of any others, along these lines, that you might be aware of.
Randy Brecker's wife Eliane Elias is virtuoso piano player and great brazilian singer. Flora Purim(often performs with her husband Airto Moreira) is great fusion-brazilian singer. I hope you know of Cesaria Evora
LHasa is Canadian by residence and half-mexican and half-jewish. RIP.
Omara portuondo, super Cuban music she was in Buena vista social club project. From Spain Ana Belen excellent. Xiomara Laugart from Havana she performed Celia Cruz in broadway iTunes has her albums you can listen I see if you like it before purchasing. I love female vocals.
Celia Cruz is the queen is latin music. Listen to the one she did with Johnny Pacheco. http://www.amazon.com/Celia-Johnny-Cruz/dp/B0039TD78Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1361855165&sr=1-1&keywords=celia+and+johnny
F.Y.I.....Eliane Elias is currently married to Jazz bassist Marc Johnson and her talent was well established before any marriage to any musician.I would hate to think that anyone might be left with the impression she would have to ride in anyone's wake.She is a gifted musician.
For any lover of the female voice, its hard to overlook artists like Eliane and Karrin. What I am really seeking are the more obscure, overlooked singers. Even so, the suggestions are all great - please keep them coming.
I had a chance to listen Gal Costa's Live at the Blue Note and she is definitely among my favorites of those suggested. Also worth mentioning are Sylvia Telles, Tania Maria and Nara Leao discovered through the related artists feature on Spotify (great previewing tool). I just received a Susana Baca disc with a pile of other stuff I haven’t had a chance to listen as yet.
Back in the good ole days, there was one particular used cd store I loved visiting. I’d go at least once per week and spend hours going through isle after isles of cds discovering all the hidden gems. The best part of the store was the locked glass cabinets at the front where they stored audiophile stuff -- namely, MFSL for $14 each. I vividly recall the day, I went to pay for my usual pile and the proprietor suggested I include a compilation by David Byrne titled Adventures in Afropea 3. This was my intro to Cesaria and morna. I have been a fan since. This compilation is really worth searching out btw - wonderful music, especially the first track on the disc.
I'm a Brazilian fanatic. Frogman is correct that Ellis Regina is the best of the best. Check her out with Antonio Carlos Jobim called Ellis & Tom. It doesn't get any better.
Check out Bebel Gilberto. She's the daughter of Joao Gilberto who basically invented Bossa Nova.
If you want to hear something very special, Ellis Regina's daughter Maria Rita is nothing short of stunning. Check out her latest ELO. I'm positive without having any idea that she won a Latin Grammy for ELO.
I don't have much time to post right now but I can elaborate soon. I could go on forever about Brazilian music. It's my personal preference for Latin music. The history is amazing and the music is as influential as any other form of music from anywhere at any time in history.
A few thoughts on the Buena Vista sound. If one uses as criteria two of Jazz's essential ingredients, improvisation and roots in African music, it is clearly "jazz"' as Rok points out. But the music heard on most of BVSC's recordings is actually closer to the "guajira" and "son" styles; the "country-music" of Cuba. The repetitive vocal style is the influence of the chants of the music that the West African slaves brought to the mix. It predates the Cubano-bop that came a decade or two later.
If you really want to get exotic, try Aster Aweke from Ethiopia. She communicates the primordial soul of "woman"; you can feel the intensity of her passion. I see she's still performing here in the states.
Carmen Gomes Inc;'Thousand Shades of Blue' is a fantastic live in the studio album.4 instruments;voice,guitar,upright bass,and drums(cajon replacing the drums on the lovely title track).Everything is there great separation,stereo imaging,depth and balance. The version of Bruce Springsteen's I'm on Fire is a musical and audiophile masterpiece,check out how the snare drum and the haunting guitar voicing complement but never cover up each other. http://www.soundliaison.com
Agree with many of the above but must add Cesaria Evora….the barefoot diva from Cape Verde.Try an album called 'Cesaria' …one of my all-time faves. Virginia Rodrigues…Brazil…check out an album called 'Nos'
Hew if you like Gal Costa with that breathy shimmer at the end of a phrase, uniquely Gal, I would highly recommend "Gal Costa Canta Jom Jobim" a live 2 cd set with excellent sonics, superb arrangements and Gal in top form. The "Elis and Tom" recommendation is superb as well. Other Brazilian artists I've enjoyed over the years include Mincha, Simone, Marisa Monte, Ana Carolina and Beth Carvalho among others. All quite different but the idea is that Brazilian singers cover a wide range of styles and music.
Frogman I would guess you are probably right, I would say the Elis Regina is probably Brazil's most beloved Brazilian female singer even though she's been gone over 30 years.
Tubegroover, great suggestions. But, man! I just listened again to the clip in my post from 2/26/13 and I would have to agree with your agreement. Elis Regina was amazing. First of all there is something about her, her vibe, and simply the way she speaks that screams sensuality and make her delivery unparalleled. Those breaks at 1:40 and 2:31 are amazing!
Frogman I agree her delivery is quite special. She can move you in many ways. I would suspect she might be an acquired taste for the average American listener hearing her for the first time but there will be others that fall in love. One thing for sure about this music, at least to me, it can't be separated from the language.
This one really is evocative of my early visits and those early impressions, the sound of Brazil and its initial effect on me and a good example why I love this singer so much, she captures it's soul. Of course Brazil has a other sounds as well but this is Bossa Nova at it's very best.
If you enjoy Brazilian female vocals you should check out Joyce (Joy-seh). I own 'Joyce & Banda Maluca - Just A Little Bit Crazy' and 'Joyce with Dori Caymmi - Rio Bahia'. Very authentic and very, very cool!
Another favorite would be Cesaria Evora, a wonderful singer! 'Sao Vicente' and 'Voz D'Amor' are 2 very fine records to start with!