Maria Jameau’s Gema (CR73304) has the appealing singer performing infectious music from Brazil and South America.
Maria Jameau may have been born in Boston but on Gema she sounds like an authentic Brazilian jazz and samba singer. Her familiarity with other cultures is obvious on this set, and as it turned out she has studied and performed in Italy, India, Ghana and Brazil in addition to the United States. While she spends time with her choir organization The Bija Children’s Choir, she has also performed with many different ensembles.
Ms. Jameau formed Blue Brazil a few years ago and Gema from 2010 was their recording debut. She performs songs from Brazil, Africa, Spain and South America with joy, enthusiasm and strong musicianship. Her voice is quite attractive, allowing one to overcome the language barrier when she sings in Spanish or Portuguese.
The singer is joined by acoustic guitarist Pablo Rodriguez, bassist Nate Lopez, percussionist Jacob Harris and Bob Afifi on flute. Afifi blends in particularly well with the vocals.
The most familiar songs on this set are the two Antonio Carlos Jobim standards “Triste” and “The Girl From Ipanema” but many of the other tunes have memorable melodies that inspire fine playing from the musicians.
Fans of Brazilian-based singing and those who want to discover a “new” and highly appealing vocalist will want to check out Maria Jameau’s Gema.