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CD REVIEW: Badi Assad - Verde
By JJ Biener - 11/23/2005 - 06:36 PM EST

Artist: Badi Assad
Album: Verde
CD Review: Badi Assad
Verde

I just got back from a trip to BrazilÖwellÖnot really. It just seems like I have been to Brazil. I have been listening to Badi Assadís CD Verde, and while it might not exactly be the next best thing to being there, it certainly evokes the flavor of the place. I have to admit that I am no expert on Brazilian music, but that did not interfere in my enjoyment of this CD.

Badi Assad was born in S„o Jo„o da Boa Vista, Brazil to a musical family. Her mother sings. Her father plays mandolin. Her brothers play guitar. I donít think it is stretch to say Brazilian music is in her blood. Verde is a return to her roots which parallels her return home after spending four years in the US.

Badiís impressive acoustic guitar work and expressive vocals are the centerpiece of this CD. She uses them to weave a tapestry from her Jazz, Folk, and Brazilian influences. No single influence overpowers the others. They combine in a balanced whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

The CDís production values are professional without being obvious. Subtlety is the key. Badi is front and center with only the bare instrumentation necessary to provide a soft cushion for her voice and guitar to stretch out on. Nothing is overdone or overbearing.

It is difficult to pick out just a few songs for special notice since there really isnít a bad song in the lot. A few though really caught my ear.. The opening track, In My Little White Top, is cute, bouncy and sensual. It is hard not to smile.

The second track, N„o Adianta (Itís No Use) is an uptempo, emotional piece about ďbeing fed up with someone.Ē One does not need to speak the language to get the message. It comes through unimpeded by a mere linguistic barrier.

The a capella vocal harmonies in Viola Meu Bem (Guitar, my love) have the quality only family members can share. Badiís niece Carolina shares the vocal work, and niece Clarice wrote the vocal arrangement.

If you are looking to break out of the straitjacket that is most Pop and Smooth Jazz radio these days, if you are looking to expand your musical and cultural horizons, I recommend giving Badi Assadís Verde a try. Check out Badiís website at www.badiassad.com.br if you want a taste before you buy.

Right now I have to go. My wife and I are late for our Samba lesson.



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