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Masha Campagne: Caminhos Cruzados = Crossroads

Happiness is a richly seasoned Brazilian singer hugging the delicate curves of Dorival Caymmi’s “Doralice” and then meandering through a superbly constructed Jobim medley. The surprise here is that Masha Campagne is Brazilian only by association (to the music itself, and to her closest colleague, the musical yang to her yin, Rio-nurtured arranger/producer/pianist Weber Iago). Campagne is Russian or, more accurately, Russian-American, born and raised in Moscow but residing in the Bay Area since 1991. On this, her debut recording, she reveals a deep, luxuriant voice that suggests the richest, darkest chocolate and the ripest, tartest blackberries.

But to assess Campagne without Iago is like judging Ipanema beach without considering the Atlantic. For, whether layering strings beneath the plaintive “Pra Quem Quiser Me Visitar,” urging percussionist Michael Spiro to set the playful pace on “O Côco Do Côco (The Coconut Beat),” accenting both “So In Love” and “It Might As Well Be Spring” with just the right measure of Harvey Wainapel’s tenor sax or wisely opting to let his solo piano lead Campagne through the heartrending grandeur of “Faltando Um Pedaço (Missing a Piece),” it is Iago’s arrangements that elevate her to heady heights.

Originally Published