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Artists Worth Checking Out: Marcia is the Real Deal

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Image courtesy of ruadebaixo.com

Born in Lisbon, Portugal–this shining star to the Brazilian jazz scene is barely scratching the surface.  Sadly, there is no biography of this budding star that I could find anywhere online.

The album that I am profiling to kick off 2019 was released in October 2018.  After listening to my first streaming album and not on a physical CD, I came away with a fond appreciation of her voice and ability to blend in different styles:

  • On Track 2, she teamed up with Antonio Zambujo for a number most appropriate for listening at a classical opera.

The next three tracks are no longer than 2 1/2 minutes each before the pace slows down a bit on Track 6, “Mil Anos” (translated meaning “A Thousand Years”).  Another popular ballad can be found on Track 8 pairing up on this duet was Salvador Sobral on “Pega Em Mim” (meaning, “Catch Me”).

But my favorite track in the entire album is Track 9, “Tempo De Aventura” (or “Adventure Time”)  Her music video is so cute, as we see Marcia walking down a desolate road as trains constantly whizz by her.  Along the route, there are certain portions that reminds some of where the Cline Avenue (Indiana State Road 912, aka the Highway Construction Workers Memorial Highway) was extended towards the Arcelor Mittal (formerly Inland Steel) mills in the formerly strong steel town of East Chicago, Indiana.

As for the pace of this song, it reminds me a lot of breakout independent rock artists Alvvays and U.S. Girls with their big hits, “Dreams Tonite” and “Velvet 4 Sale” respectively.

I give this album my highest ranking, five stars for her versatility and the ability to cover many different moods and pitches in her voice.

This album is only available via streaming platforms from Spotify and iTunes.

Next time on Monday, January 21 will be my next streaming profile (of which you can also find on physical CD) featuring Guilherme de Brito.  See you all then.

 

 

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Miucha, Mother of Bebel Gilberto Passes Away

Known as Heloísa Maria Buarque de Hollanda, the once popular singer Miucha died on December 27, 2018 of cancer at the age of 81.

Born on November 30, 1937 in Rio, she was brought up right away into true Brazilian music royalty.  Consider this as an All-Star family lineup (with all apologies to father/son/daughter athletes that attend the same school/university):

Sister to Chico Buarque and siblings including Ana de Hollanda who at age 63 became Brazil’s Minister of Culture.  In addition, she was the wife to João Gilberto and mother to Bebel Gilberto, born in New York (1966).

In 1945, the family moved from Rio to São Paulo. As a child she formed a vocal ensemble with her brothers, including Chico Buarque. In 1960 she moved to Paris where she studied Art History at the École du Louvre.[2]

Miucha’s biggest claim to fame will bet the fact that she recorded with the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim–not once, not twice, but three times.

It wasn’t until 1975 she made her first professional recording debut on the album The Best of Two Worlds teaming up with Joan Gilberto along with Stan Getz.  According to her Wikipedia page, she would record alongside Tom Jobim for two albums two years apart in both 1977 and 1979.  Also in 1977, Miucha was part of a show which was organized by Jobim, Aloysio de Oliveira along with Vinicius de Moraes,  and Toquinho.  Lasting about a year, it took place at Canecão in Rio de Janeiro, and would later take the group throughout South America and eventually into Europe.  RCA Victor preserved a live recording in 1977 simply titled, Tom, Vinícius, Toquinho e Miúcha recorded live in Canecão.

Miucha wrapped up her music career doing a few albums towards the end of the next three decades.

I briefly managed to cover her for a Mother’s Day tribute way back in 2013.  Here is the link provided in tribute to one great musician, and more importantly, an outstanding mother:

https://bigzbossanovabeat.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/master-composers-miucha-definitely-belongs-as-one-true-brazilian-mother-who-also-is-an-accomplished-singer/

Fully understanding that Bebel and family are grieving, but hopefully Miucha’s legacy will always be remembered.  Perhaps she might team up in heaven with Oscar Castro Neves and even Al Jarreau for a bossa sing along for anyone who has left our world too soon.

May she rest in peace.

 

 

 

Master Composers: Luciana Souza Brings Much Needed Calm Music

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Image courtesy of freshalbums.net

One of many artists that I have enjoyed listening to for the last several years has been Sao Paulo native and Boston educated Luciana Souza.

She is knocking on the door to having produced double digit albums, similar to a very popular Oregon artist that I really enjoy talking about on any given day or night.  More on that in my brief Year in Review segment below.

Luciana’s latest effort, which was released this past August is a much needed respite from our hectic, “fake news is what it’s true” world we are all stuck in like a fishbowl in water.

From the first note on “These Things” to the last note on “Remember”, this album is perfect for late night listening.  Her sound is right on par with solo independent rock artists ranging from Anja Garbarek, Denise Hradecky, and to a certain extent with Lana Del Rey.

Teaming up with Chico Pinheiro on guitar along with Scott Cooley on bass, all ten tracks provide as my headline above states–with much needed calm tones.

The liner notes strike a darker tone–mainly dealing with the simpleness that the winter season brings, and closing with familiar themes such as darkness and loss.

Her interpretations done by the late Leonard Cohen are simply too sweet to hear, with Track 4 in “Night Song” and her inspiration for her album title on Track 6–simply titled “The Book”.

Luciana herself penned a couple of nice songs.  To open the album, she sings about the struggles many people face like reading passages from the Bible or taking the road less traveled.  The last verse mentioned about times of conflict and war, especially during those trying and very difficult times when our brave men and women pay the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms while keeping us safe from major harm.

Her second track, “Daybreak” is no way mimicking the same title as the local morning program of CBC Radio One station CBME-FM 104.7 in Montreal, Quebec.  Rather, it is organized in eight single words organized into three columns.

Track 7 dives a bit into the Halie Loren playbook, about dealing with loss and breakups with the third and final verse striking at the heart when she sings:

“We were not meant to last at all/You laid the blame, I took the fall/You rose so high I lost my sight/The storm will see us through tonight.”

Even the famed poet Emily Dickenson gets full credit on Track 8, “We Grow Accustomed To The Dark.”  Very appropriate title figuring with Standard Time gripping most of the United States as my mother often says:  “It is dark to begin the day and it is dark when I start cooking dinner.”

The CD is available in many places–such as eBay, Amazon, and even in Target stores.

This album perhaps, when her career is said and done might be her best work.  I give it my highest rating.

For more information about my past review of Luciana Souza and her album The New Bossa Nova, please either tap or click on the link below:

https://bigzbossanovabeat.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/artists-worth-checking-out-luciana-souza-brings-calm-tones-on-many-popular-hit-songs/

SPECIAL NOTE:  Another artist that burst onto the scene this April is a veteran jazz/bossa nova artist who is the youngest daughter of Atlanta’s first African American mayor, the late Maynard Holdbrook Jackson Jr. and NPR personality/businesswoman Valerie Richardson Jackson:

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Image courtesy of avxhm.se

Her singles can be found on YouTube.  I hope that I get this CD come Christmas.

But I am sure that Santa Claus left me at least a few surprises.

Unlike in years past, thanks in large part to the up and down economy–my goal to finish off 2018 is about quality–not quantity.  I hope to find some items that will help me greatly in the here and now.  Otherwise, I am very happy where I am…just a matter of getting my ducks all in a row–as the adage says.

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As I close out 2018 on a personal level, it seemed that for many of my album reviews came during during a very trying time for the world in general.  More specifically in both the United States and especially in Brazil saw both nations feeling like they are regressing instead of progressing toward a brighter and in some cases, a more hopeful future.

My hope is that I brought you several weeks of joy, comfort, and many wonderful days of exploring and listening online or with your favorite CD player in the background–or whatever tasks you were working on either in your houses or apartments.

Looking back, there was that tragic fire which burned most of Brazil’s most treasured museums.  A few short weeks later, most of Southern California again experienced more wildfires and later mudslides.  Thankfully, very good friends of this blog in Fabiana Passoni and Monica da Silva along with her husband Chad Alger are all safe and doing just fine after a very trying three weeks that saw many people–including the likes of pop music star Miley Cyrus lose their homes.

The Music Modernization Act became law on October 11 and with it, much needed help for the many artists that mostly stream their music online.   My wish is that hopefully those artists that fly under the radar will hopefully earn more than just nickels and dimes every time any of their songs play on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Pandora, and Tidal–just to name a few popular streaming music players. Popular apps like Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and AccuRadio are also great places to check out even more music.

I began 2018 by going back to the times of Camelot with Sylvia Telles, along with Claudette Soares, Jorge Ben, and the memorable girl group of Quarteto Em Cy.

One personal goal I had for over two years was finally met on Valentine’s Day, as I was able to post a blog with Natal’s very own Liz Rosa.  What a great woman she is, but sadly–I never got the chance to interview her.  But she is still around online, so I will not give up hope so we can try to stay in touch.

March had me profiling Evan Marks and Marina Lima.

I also enjoyed reviewing Zizi Possi in the past.  Just in time for Mother’s Day, I was glad to profile her daughter Luiza Possi.  Like mother, like daughter–the apple does not fall far from the tree as far as their sweet voices are concerned.

The Richard Sorce Project highlighted June, while I decided to go retro with Gal Costa’s 1980 album in July.  Babado Novo closed out the summer, appropriately enough looking like the true beach bunny that makes the hottest time of the year sizzle even more.  At least during this holly, jolly time of year–those in North America make us dream harder when sunny, hot beach weather is on the other side of the globe.  Do you hear us loud and clear, New Zealand and Australia?

October had me talking about the late, great Laurindo Almeida and another artist I was waiting a while to profile in Paula Toller.

John Pizzarelli brought on the Billy Joel type of beat in early November, while I talked extensively about Paula Fernandes doing her best Shania Twain impersonation (and even got to meet and sing alongside the Canadian sensation one fine day in Las Vegas).  I profiled her truly memorable concert DVD and the many colorful outfits she wore during the many shows that were filmed.

However, what I will remember the most about blogging in 2018 was the day of Tuesday, April 27.

That was the day that I reviewed every track for the very first time in my blog chronicling the Alaskan born, Oregon sensation that is Halie Loren when she released her much anticipated milestone tenth album.  Fans like myself recall instantly that the album came to fruition that was helped entirely by her crowdfunding efforts.  I will never forget that memorable Kickstarter campaign, since it was helped in large part IMHO from her cool introductory video she did back in the fall of 2017.

The result was a truly special and cool sounding album called From the Wild Sky.

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Image courtesy of muz-lyrics.ru (above) and listal.com (below)

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Even Halie herself mentioned in one of her monthly newsletters how much she truly enjoyed every word that I mentioned during that memorable spring day.

All I can say is, thank you for the very kind words.  You made me cry some happy tears, and I really enjoy still being a very good online friend.

Yes, she was truly ecstatic when I told Halie about joining a select group of jazz musicians who successfully produced double digit albums for their entire career.

Just in case you missed the list the first time I posted it, here it is one more time  (albeit this list is not complete).

Someday in the future, the aforementioned Luciana Souza might join her.

This proud list includes:

  • Louis Armstrong
  • Duke Ellington
  • Glenn Miller
  • Benny Goodman
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Billie Holiday
  • Miles Davis
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Charlie Parker
  • John Coltrane
  • Thelonious Monk
  • Charles Mingus (mostly as a bandleader, also as a sideman)
  • Sonny Rollins
  • Art Blakey
  • Stan Getz
  • Sarah Vaughan
  • Donald Byrd
  • Dave Brubeck
  • Oscar Peterson
  • Wes Montgomery
  • Chick Corea (mostly as leader or co-leader)
  • Lionel Hampton (mostly in group sessions)
  • Wynton Marsalis
  • Ron Carter
  • Antonio Carlos Jobim
  • Joao Gilberto
  • Sergio Mendes
  • Herb Alpert
  • Lani Hall (both before and during her marriage to Herb Alpert)
  • Candy Dulfer
  • Diana Krall
  • Becca Stevens (mostly as a guest)
  • Halie Loren

That in a nutshell wraps up my weekly blog reviews.  As my life begins to take another turn towards me doing more things away from the computer–as I mentioned a few weeks back, I will be scaling back my blogs to twice a month for at least the next 10 months.  After Halloween 2019, who knows?

At the very least, I definitely am looking forward to profiling the new works of the Complicated Animals and Fabiana Passoni which I am totally positive will be a fabulous EP come sometime in the next year.

My final hope and wish to close out 2018 on a positive note is that everyone should keep thinking and saying positive things, no matter who you are with and what the circumstances may present themselves at any given time of day or night.

Secondly, I hope you can please remember this quote:

Don’t escalate the problem above the solution.

Easier said than done.

Finally, I want to wish everyone a Feliz Natal/Merry Christmas and a Feliz Ano Novo/Happy New Year to my loyal blog readers.

See you all again the week of January 7 with my first album review for 2019.

 

 

Artists Worth Checking Out: Ricardo Bacelar Goes Back To His Roots

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Image courtesy of musicforallnow.com

Forming a nice friendship with Cesar Lemos during the summer of 1992, they planted the first virtual seeds of this very cool album titled Sebastiana.

The album was recorded in Miami during July 2017, while the focus of the world turned to Major League Baseball’s annual summer exhibition known as the All-Star Game (you all remember Aaron Judge winning Home Run Derby, don’t you?).

In his liner notes, which alternate between some really sweet artwork, Bacelara mentioned this interesting quote:

“…music has the power to join different aesthetic standards, as a universal language that establishes links, transmuting the real world with a sophisticated degree of subjectivity.”

Buoyed by several contributing artists not only from Brazil, but also from Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela, Columbia, Peru, and the United States–the 15 tracks that total around 55 minutes is an amazing listen.

Unlike my entry from last Wednesday with Roberto Vally, the pace slows just a bit.  Just right if you find yourself baking some wonderful Christmas cookies or that really tasty cheesecake that will wow your guests.

Tracks 3 and 5 are the best, with American Maye Osorio providing the vocals and Steve Hinson on guitar with “Nothing Will Be As It Was.”  The other track is titled, “Menina Baiana” (translated meaning “Baiana Girl”).  Overall, a third of this album is sung in English with the remaining 10 tracks sung either in Spanish or Portuguese.

The final comments in Ricardo’s liner notes talk about the various artwork including a nude shot on the cover:

“The images we chose to illustrate (on) the disc are parts of the work “Carnaval” (1969 – 1970, oil on canvas, 1.07 X 1.57) by the Brazilian artist, the modernist Emiliano di Cavalcanti.”

Throughout the 54 page booklet, there are also plenty of images of Ricardo playing the piano alone.  When he is away from doing music, he is also a lawyer who according to the CD Baby website is a, “fierce copyright defender.”

This stand alone pic from 2013 just might remind you of one famous player on Saturday Night Live from the late 1980’s:

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Possible lookalike of Jon Lovitz? Image courtesy of oabce.org.br

Like the memorable time when Lovitz portrayed Ray Romano, I am often reminded of one of his famous quotes:

“I feel lucky that I’m working at all. I don’t take any job for granted. I enjoy this. It’s all enjoyable for me. It’s all part of it.”

Quote found at inspiringquotes.us

Ricardo Bacelar’s music is very nice and flows beautifully, just like the Amazon River throughout most of key parts that make up Brazil.

My final entry for 2018 is a repeat entry of sorts, as one of my first blog subjects from many years ago came out with her ninth album during this past year.

Her name is Luciana Souza, and I think that her latest work might indeed be her best yet.

See you all next Wednesday.

Artists Worth Checking Out: Roberto Vally Clears Smooth Path with Pure Lines

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Image courtesy of luigismooth.blogspot.com

Born in Brooklyn, but settled into the area where the likes of Fabiana Passoni and Monica da Silva from Complicated Animals proudly call home in Los Angeles, Roberto Vally mainly plays the bass–both electronic and acoustic.

His first album titled Boom Boom Boom came out in 2013, which touched on the smooth jazz, similar to what you normally hear on the small group of terrestrial radio stations and the growing online community with Spotify, Soundcloud, and even on the once great blogging site of the mid to late 2000’s in Myspace.

My Album Pick of the Week features his second effort from 2017.  This time, Vally teamed up with Jeff Carruthers on guitar, keyboard, and other programming needs.

The likes of Marc Antoine (vocals and guitar on Track 6, “Vinnie’s Vendetta”) and Michiyo Kitagawa (saxophone on Track 3, “Jungle Lounge”) added some much needed flair for the album.

Also contributing on one of the tracks is loyal friend and fan of this blog in Fabiana Passoni.  After 30 seconds having no vocals, we hear her voice sing so eloquently on Track 4, “Namarados” (Portuguese for “Boyfriends”).  At one point, she says on the microphone of what appears similar to the opening of Lisa Stansfield’s wildly popular 1990 smooth jazz hit “All Around The World” (but if it is different, Fabiana is welcome to tell me so I could correct that sentence above).

My favorite tracks are the first two, “Come With Me” and “Andaluzia”–great music to make the weekday go by a bit smoother.  This is a great album to also play in the car on the way to your favorite beach in the summer (or this time of year for anyone online reading in the land Down Under in Australia).

In a way, it sounds very similar to the works of Dave Koz and Leo Gandelman.  And don’t let the cover image fool you.

It is not a body double of Billy Joel–just saying by the time you open the flap to this digipak if you decide to order a physical copy on Amazon.

Overall, it gets my highest marks.  Excellent sound, does not sound rushed or too slow.  The pace is simply excellent.

Next week, I will be profiling the work of an artist that recorded 15 tracks in Miami during the period Major League Baseball held its’ annual All-Star Game during July 2017.  His name is Ricardo Bacelar, so I hope you can check back in six days from today.  Please enjoy the rest of your week as the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear.

DVD Review: Paula Fernandes Really Shines No Matter What the Setting

Welcome one, welcome all to one of my infrequent DVD concert reviews.

I know, I was hoping to do this shortly after Halloween–but a certain thing called life got in the way big time.  I am so glad I finally had a few hours on Thanksgiving Eve of all the nights available to sit down for the full 71 minute compilation.

The DVD starts out with Paula basically explaining why she was a farm girl growing up, as we see her carefully cut a fruit and taking her horse down a gravel road.

For those of you that might have missed my CD reviews of a few of her albums, please tap or click on the link below from the start of March 2016:

https://bigzbossanovabeat.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/artist-you-should-know-paula-fernandes/

All of the songs were really nice–mostly slow to medium pace.

What struck me the most was the variety of setting and different performers.  The common theme throughout was Paula herself smiling at every possible turn.

Sadly, when I did an image search–there weren’t too many images taken from the concerts.  However, I was able to find some other images from her press conference in Sao Paulo announcing the DVD release on September 24, 2014.  Plus, there were a few instances of her hamming the camera during a photo op:

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Images courtesy of muscia.uol.com.br (above and below)

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Here is Paula blowing a kiss to her fans—how sweet. Image courtesy of estacaodanoticia.com

Each song on the disk was truly magnificent.  For me, the real highlights came on Tracks 10 and 12.  Paula simply nailed the American English language.  Whether it was in B&W filming at Caesar’s Palace with Shania Twain on one of her big hits in “Still The One” or with Eric Silver near a country type fireplace or separately looking a country gal that she almost looked like a body double of Amy Grant, circa 1991.

And yes, she mixed in plenty of her native Portuguese to boot.

No matter the setting, whether it was out in the fields (Tracks 1, 2, and 17), any indoor or outdoor concert (namely on Track 6 when Michael Telo’s name was on a marquee similar to what you see on the Vegas Strip on the evening of January 27, 2014).  She commanded the audience with a simple calm demeanor and the crowds simply loved every note of it.

Consider also that for each of the tracks where there was an audience, Paula easily could give the Briefcase Gals from the former NBC (soon to be CNBC hit game show of Deal or No Deal) some much needed competition.

Sample this list for posterity, even with autumn leaves being the prevalent theme:

  • Track 3, “Caminhoeniro”.  Wore bright yellow dress.
  • Track 4, “India”.  Wore a green top with floral skirt while playing the violin.
  • Track 6, “Pegando Lagrimas”.  Wore all black while playing the piano.
  • Track 7, “Se Tudo Fosse Facil”.  Wore my all-time favorite color in aqua blue, while playing the violin alongside Michael Telo.
  • Track 9, “Hoy Me Voy”.  This time, she came out in gray, but her face almost was half the resemblance of Princess Leia from the Star Wars movie franchise.
  • Track 13, “Meu Grito de Amor”.  Wore black ruffle skirt.
  • Track 14, “Tristeza Do Jeca”.  Wore burnt orange string dress.
  • Track 15, “Romaria.”  Were my eyes deceiving me, but Tania Mara nearly looked like a body double.  Except Paula was wearing a short black ruffle skirt, while Tania was resembling a late 1960’s hippie wearing dark green bubbles on her skirt.
  • Track 16, “Tocando Em Frente” with legendary artist Hebe Camargo.  Came out with a look most country artists get away with–a flowery skirt that extends out five feet to each side.  Great color to close if you are a fan of the Purdue Boilermakers of West Lafayette, Indiana–old gold all the way.

That list certainly made me tired.  I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

And if Paula and her circle of friends that are reading this blog, just in case if you cannot stand the current Brazilian political climate–you are more than welcome to revisit the United States.  Just ask my good loyal online friends of this blog in Fabiana Passoni and Monica da Silva.

See you again on December 5 with another artist that I profiled earlier in the decade in Luciana Souza.  Take care, everyone.

Artists Worth Checking Out: John Pizzarelli Struts And Jives His Way Through Many Memorable Hits

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Image courtesy of qobuz.com

Born in Paterson, New Jersey on April 6, 1960, John Pizzarelli grew up in a musical family.  His father Bucky was a swing guitarist and also was a staffman on two TV networks:  Bobby Rosengarden with the fledgling ABC in 1952 and nearly two decades later when he helped out alongside Dick Cavett in 1971 on NBC.

While studying at Don Basco Prepatory School, an all boys Catholic school located in the northeast corner of New Jersey–he managed to perform during the late 1970’s along the likes of Benny Goodman, Zoot Sims, Clark Terry, and Les Paul.

He learned from his father while attending college at the University of Tampa and William Patterson University.  It was during this time that he produced his first solo album titled, I’m Hip (Please Don’t Tell My Father) in 1983.

During the 1990’s, he played in a trio alongside his brother Martin and jazz pianist Ray Kennedy.  They were the opening act for Frank Sinatra in 1993–quite a special moment for those three men during that period of time.

In recent years, he and his wife Jessica Molaskey did their own radio show Radio Deluxe with John Pizzarelli.  According to Wikipedia, he also did the big band arrangement for a 1999 commercial for Foxwoods Resort Casino.

My album pick to wrap up November is his tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim, simply titled Bossa Nova.  Throughout the over 50 minute album, John definitely brings out the lighter side of the classics, ranging from “One Note Samba” to “The Girl From Ipanema” and “Waters of March.”

Other cool renditions that I enjoyed on this 2004 album include “Fascination Rhythm” (Track 2) and “I Remember” (Track 8).  His version of “Love Dance” is also a true show stopper (Track 10).

But most of all, this album is great to play at parties.  Whether it is for background music when you either welcome guests at the front door or passing out appetizers, this would be an awesome album starter.  IMHO, you could add the double Greatest Hits compilation Bossa Nova:  Sua Historia, Sua Gente as excellent dinner music (yes, I covered that album and managed to play it for friends a few years back during a rather fancy dinner, and they loved it).

Speaking of another great album starter, I recall covering Paula Fernandes.  I promised my blog fans that I would do a blog covering her DVD.  Well, a certain thing called life got in the way big time earlier this month–my other blog covering the opening games in men’s college basketball notwithstanding.

I hope to get the chance to review her DVD on Tuesday or Wednesday.  This way, my American fans can go into the Thanksgiving holiday in hopefully a better mood.

After that, I plan to close out 2018 with three albums that were released either in 2017 or earlier this year.  This also includes one of my first blogs that I ever covered in Luciana Souza.  Look for that in your inboxes during the first three weeks of December.

In closing, I wish again to say some special words that hopefully, all of the people and businesses that are still sadly affected by the horrific wildfires up and down most of Southern California get the help they need to not only get back on their feet, but in most cases–to find a newer place away from the forestry so they can enjoy life to the fullest.

Please have a nice weekend.