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Joyce: Ilha Brasil

Jazz’s protracted infatuation with Brazilian music has often produced unfortunate romantic side-effects: the beloved is dressed up in fancy duds, presumably to make her appear more sophisticated and acceptable, and in the process her unique freshness is despoiled.

Joyce, herself Brazilian and the arranger and composer of much of this album’s material, seems to further this questionable process on tracks like “Samba da Zona,” “Paraiso,” and “Deus eo o Diablo,” the last of which transports its baiao origins into the harmonically restricted territory of contemporary jazz, where much Brazilian expression has landed of late.

Elsewhere, Joyce is content to let her country’s indigenous musical forms speak for themselves, on their own terms, as in the sensuous “O Chines E A Bicicleta”, and the guitar-driven, flute-enhanced “Receita de Samba.” She makes better use of her considerable vocal breadth on those songs and on the smokey “Havana-Me,” the vampy, bluesy “Sexy Silvia,” and the rap and vocalese of “Rodano A Baiana” and “Feijao com Arroz”.

Originally Published