Master Composers: Carol Welsman doing things mighty fine on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border

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Image courtesy of http://www.postedecoute.ca

Born on September 29, 1960 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada–this very popular jazz singer has won 5 Juno awards (Canada’s equivalent to the Grammys).  She teaches voice in her native Canada and also here in the United States at many colleges and universities.

But what I find most amazing about Carol Welsman is that she has done a dozen albums and was also the subject of a 2005 documentary featuring Herbie Hancock titled, The Language of Love.

Most of Carol’s songs are very laid back and relaxing in nature.  Based on some of her liner notes from her 2007 self-titled album from Justin Time Records, Inc., she brought along a talented team of musicians in her first major foray covering Brazilian jazz to make this an album worth savoring:

“For a long time, I have dreamed of doing a recording of Latin music, and especially a recording in several languages…While none of us are South American, we do share an affinity for the enchanting musical rhythms heard south of the Equator.”

Carol is joined by producer Jimmy Haslip on bass, Jimmy Branly, percussionist and drummer who hails from Cuba, and Pierre Cote on guitar.

When I first heard her sing “Brazasia” to open the album, I was instantly thinking like most guys do when they see a ravishing woman dressed to the nines as if she would be walking down the red carpet.  Wearing some red, pink, and black numbers in this album tells me this woman is nothing but class and classy at the same time.

Other cool cover versions of popular songs Carol sang so well include the Michael McDonald number, “What A Fool Believes” on Track 4 and Madonna’s soulful ballad from the 1990’s in “Live To Tell” on Track 7.  The CD concludes with a pair of bonus tracks, “Beautiful” and “Ora” all done so nicely in the smooth jazz vein.

This digipak is available online both at Amazon and eBay.  I rate this album five stars, a definite “Best In Show” if there ever was such a category besides the often maligned Best Musical Score award handed out during the Oscars.

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For the entire month of March, I will be devoting once more to albums focusing on a single artist who is still going strong today.  Based also on this rather topsy-turvy season in men’s college basketball, I wonder if Paula Fernandes’ recent work from this past December will vault her as a possible top seed in my fourth annual Marco Lacoura tournament?  Again, no prizes for the winner–just virtual bragging rights and tons of pics posted for the winning artist or group.

The draw will be revealed on Monday, March 14–less than 24 hours after the CBS Television Network devotes nearly two hours dissecting 68 schools and their path toward possible glory in Houston come April 4, and the hopes of appearing to play for a national championship on the popular cable channel simply known as TBS covering their third straight Final Four.

Happy Leap Day, everybody!  More goodies and better Olympic updates to come.

Hope to see you all then.

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