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

Maria Alvim/Rick Udler: Rhythm & Romance

If you love the sinewy Brazilian melodies of a Milton Nascimiento or Djavan, and the lithe vocals of an Astrud Gilberto, you would do well to seek out Maria Alvim & Rick Udler’s Rhythm & Romance (Malandro Records MAL 71001; 51:33), a richly textured effort which takes a page from Braziljazz legends and makes it personal. Guitarist Udler and vocalist Alvim are a well-suited pair, with a seamless give-and-take of a Brazilian Tuck & Patti. Udler’s acoustic textures sparkle on light summer tonic tunes like “Son Mais o Samba” and “Arususa,” and turn dark and meditative for the flamenco drama of works like “Cine Maraba.” Alvim’s gentle vocals have a light lilt which could draw comparisons to Gilberto, but she also has a melodic verve and emotional connection to lyric lines which distinguishes her from more “detached” vocalists. In settings like the gentle, regret-packed “Orao” and wondering “Encontros e Despedidas,” Alvim effectively conveys the emotion and tone of her Portuguese lyrics with universal power. Often Alvim’s vocals work like a complementary instrument-with light note sensual awakening complementing dark cello textures on “Feito Roupa” and a sinewy English melody line on a charming read of Gershwin’s “Our Love is Here to Stay” sounding more instrumental than vocal.

Originally Published