San Francisco native Anna Estrada has a voice that can loll audiences into a dream state and just as equally fire them up to a siesta pitch. Her latest recording, Obsesion is flavored with American swing, Latin-dance and coffeehouse-folk. The album has an overall nightclub aura with moments of cottony-soft vocalese and romantically imbued guitar strums. Produced in collaboration with her guitarist and arranger Ray Scott, Obsesion is a record that does American and Latin jazz justice and fosters a world music complexion fitting for any setting.
The arrangements are beautifully worked layering boppish horns with a samba rhythm and shouldering spirals of angelic piano keys and gently coiled guitar plucks along “La Mentira.” The track’s blissful swagger has a classic bolero pattern that moves into a gentle jungle beating in Eden Abbez’s number “Nature Boy” with a R&B tint in the guitar strips. The slinky lines of Damien Masterson’s harmonica etched along “Carta Ao Tom“ are crisscrossed by the graceful tresses of the guitar strokes while the reposing tempo of “Llorona” has a calming fluidity in the guitar motifs inlayed by harmonica curls. The song is a traditional Mexican tune that alludes to a vintage, tragic folk tale about the ghost of a woman who weeps for her children after she drowned them in a moment of rage and madness. The music is melancholic but shifts into the upbeat tempo of the title track that has a ballroom vitality liken to classic swing jazz tunes.
The soft frothy beats in Estrada’s remake of Burt Bacharach’s “Always Something There To Remind Me” has a gentle tropical feel, and the elegant strokes of the guitar strums across “Soledad” have a soothing flamenco-toned feathering. The waltzing rhythm of “Adeus America” cornices an intimate feel flint by romantic incense, but the crowing piece is the bolero inspired tune “Flor Sin Retorio” which Estrada sings with a sparse accompaniment. The track displays the gentle poise of Estrada’s vocals and the lovely nuances that she etches into the melody.
Anna Estrada has found her niche in contemporary jazz’s fold. Obsesion radiates of love in every track whether it is romantic love, motherly love or brotherly love for mankind. She sings these songs like each one has a very personal meaning to her, and the intimacy which she projects nourishes compassion.