Luisa Sobral ‘The Cherry On My Cake’ (Universal Portugal) 3/5

Portugese singer Luisa Sobral is difficult to categorise, but has a jazz-pop sensibility with elements of folk and a nasal voice that recalls Blossom Dearie. This parallel is most evident on the opener ‘I would love to’ and on the 1950s style small jazz combo outing ‘Mr. and Mrs. Brown’ with a fine clarinet solo from Lynus Wyrsch. Sobral is to be commended for not going down the already well trodden retro bossa nova route, but does on two numbers sing in Portugese where her voice is more distinctive, the best of which is the laid back ‘O en graxador’. In contrast ‘Xico’ is an uptempo song with trad jazz accompaniment. There is certainly a market for the more delicate sounding female voice in an old school jazz setting and those who already like Gretchen Parlato and Stacey Kent will find much to appreciate here, though in Sobral’s case the range is at present still somewhat limited. A promising release nonetheless.

Tim Stenhouse