Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Havana Carbo: Through a Window – Like A Dream

If you happen to be in Kingston, Jamaica, you can drop by the Redbones Blues Café and sip the house specialty, a rum-based concoction called a Havana Carbo. Or you can simply indulge in the original, drinking in the vocal nectar of the cocktail’s namesake as she works her intoxicating charm. Though she was born in Havana, was raised in Stockbridge, Mass., and sings in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English, Carbo’s throaty style strongly suggests the husky sultriness of Marlene Dietrich.

Like Dietrich, Carbo’s endowed with a remarkable ability to simultaneously sound dreamily passionate and drowning in ennui. Disappointingly, the album’s sole English track, the usually haunting “Invitation,” is also its weakest. Carbo seems lost within the lyric and slightly overwhelmed by pianist Dario Eskenazi’s complexly imaginative arrangement. But it is only a small stumble, a tiny defect in an otherwise rich, luxurious tapestry. And Carbo earns bonus points for one of the most delightful, and most refreshingly honest, liner note quotes of this or any year, when she enthuses that “This project is the culmination of a dream made possible by the gifts of love, trust and generosity of true friends and family … and the power of credit.”

Originally Published