Friday, February 28, 2014

Natalie Fernandez's "Nuestro Tango" - DownBeat

Natalie Fernandez with Zaccai Curtis & Insight
Nuestro Tango
*** 1/2

Born in Argentina but raised in Miami, vocalist Natalie Fernandez appears to be an excellent conduit for blending the styles of tango, r&b, jazz and pop music. On "Afrotangojazz," she drafts a flowery mission statement over pulsating Latin hand percussion and a skittering bandoneon. The dense female harmonies swell and fade before a blues-fueled piano closes out the tune. Elsewhere, a spoken word guest spot from Giovanni Almonte almost derails the album but is rescued by the vibrant "El Viaje Del Negro," which dips into a sly display of vocal skill and tempo. For the most part, Fernandez's performance of the tango standard "El Dia Que Me Quieras" is respectfully traditional. The percussionists dig into a nice groove over Zaccai Curtis' bright piano montuno. Only the polished vocal overdubs at the fadeout belie the tune's timelessness.

Natalie Fernandez @ DownBeat

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