It sounds like summer. The signature bright and breezy Brazilian jazz melodies and exotic bossa nova grooves of icon Astrud Gilbertoare feted on jazz vocalist Anne Walsh’s “The Astrud Project,” which drops Friday. Produced and lavishly orchestrated by Grammynominated arranger Tom Zink, Walsh (https://www.annewalsh.com) recorded eleven songs from Gilberto’s seminal catalogue, popular as well as lesser-known gems, adding her own unique touch by writing original lyrics to two lyric-less songs.
The seeds for “The Astrud Project” were sewn on Walsh’s 2016 album, “Brand New.” She penned biographical lyrics about Gilberto, singing them in place of the scat her muse did on “Nao Bate O Coracao,” and retitled the song “The Writing’s on the Wall.” Walsh did a similar thing with Gilberto’s scatted “Beach Samba” for “The Astrud Project.” The album honors the contribution Gilberto made to the bossa nova movement, music that Walsh and Zink are so passionate about.
Throughout “The Astrud Project,” Walsh’s classically trained, pixie soprano voice gleefully illumines the lilting rhythmic recordings sung in English and Portuguese, floating effortlessly atop Zink’s imaginative arrangements. The set list includes tunes written by Brazilian composers Antonio Carlos Jobim (“Dindi,” “The Girl From Ipanema” and “Fotographia”), Baden Powell and Vincius de Moraes (“Canto de Ossanha”), and Marcos Valle (“Crickets Sing For Anamaria”) as well selections from the great American songbook (“Once Upon a Summertime” and “Call Me”).
Born in Worcester, Massachusetts and based in Long Beach, California, Walsh’s own catalogue is a mix of Brazilian and contemporary jazz. Grammy-winning guitarist Pat Metheny praised Walsh for writing lyrics to his “So May It Secretly Begin” for her “Pretty World” album.
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