Brazilian chanteuse extraordinaire Joyce returns with her first album in ten years of her own compositions and it is a breath of fresh air with some delightful compositions that demonstrate her ability to master a variety of Brazilian sub-genres and using interesting choral variations with male and female backing vocals as well as a larger choral ensemble. Of course samba-jazz is one of her major strengths and there are plenty of examples of this on the new set. The breezy opener and fast-paced hard bossa of ‘Quero ouvir João’ is an excellent song that features an extended piano solo from Helio Alves while the floating mid-paced ‘Dor de amor é ãgua’ include some lovely call and response vocals by Joyce. Joyce is well known for he scatting technique and deploys this to great effect both on the intro to ‘Puro ouro’ and on the atmospheric and percussive ‘Tringuelingue’ which is a fast hard bossa tune.
For something slightly more left field, the lovely acoustic guitar led number ‘Boiou’ is a minor theme piece with jazzy piano in the background that slowly but surely creeps into the subconscious. Equally subtle is the song ‘Claude et Maurice’ which has a waltz-like quality to it and, despite the French title, is sung entirely in Portugese. Mauricio Maestro doubles up on background vocals here for the chorus. Choro is one of Brazil’s oldest musical styles and, with its use of ragtime jazz, is argued by some musicologists to have actually pre-dated the origins of jazz. One of its principal exponents was the multi-reedist Pixinguinha and Joyce makes an excellent attempt at recreating this style in a thoroughly modern context with ‘Choro de anjo’ which features unexpected and unusual rhythms and melodies, but is held together by the fine vocal delivery of the singer. Of the slower material, the jazz-influenced MPB ballad ‘Estrado de graça’ impresses with its delicate use of percussion by Tutti Moreno and the mid-paced ‘Domingo de manhã’ showcases some lovely interplay between guitar and piano. A European tour is already underway and includes three concerts in the UK in mid-April with dates in Manchester, Belfast and London respectively. Not to be missed.