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Ithamara Koorax: Serenade in Blue

Reportedly a star in Brazil and Japan, vocalist Ithamara Koorax makes her American CD debut with this pop-jazz effort recorded several years ago in Rio and Piermont, N.Y. For this project-a mix of movie themes and sambas sung in English, Portuguese and French-Koorax has assembled an instrumental lineup that includes Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Dom Um Romao, Marcos Valle, Eumir Deodato and Azymuth. Her bright, strong voice holds its own against the synthesized strings and thumping electronic rhythms, but her often grotesque English pronunciation and laughably histrionic attempts to feign sexual arousal undermine her vocal talents. She’s more pleasing when she calms down for the harp-backed “Moon River” but at her worst on a droningly extruded “Bonita,” which is drained of the subtle lyricism of the Jobim original.

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