Brazilian singer and pianist Tania Maria reunites with former Bill Evans bassist Eddie Gomez, but this time, in the studio. Aptly titled Tempo, the intimate session captures the varied nuances that have come to define the vocalist during her more than three-decades-long career.
Unhurried and unfettered by convention, Tempo goes down smooth, like a fine port at the end of a sumptuous feast. The album’s eight tracks alternate among Brazilian standards and originals, vocals and instrumentals. They envelope listeners with the warmth of Maria’s sensual, husky alto; her percussive piano and Gomez’s lyrical bass.
Maria’s personality shines through her performances, whether buoyant and upbeat or subdued and laid-back. On “Sentado a Beira do Caminho,” a composition by Erasmo Carlos and Roberto Carlos, her famous scatting punctuates piquant piano runs and Gomez’s sparse
yet lithe plucking. The pair follow that with a brooding read of Tom Jobim and Luis Bonfá’s “A Chuva Caiu,” which brims with romantic, meditative meanderings on lost love. The Maria original “Yeah Man” stands out as a bare-bones blues that swings with an infectious Brazilian sensibility.
The gem of the set, Maria’s “Dear Dee Vee,” carries a carefree, playful spirit that pulsates with Gomez’s nimble-fingered runs, Maria’s subtle yet recognizable Afro-Cuban tumbao on piano and her melodic vocal interplay. The final title track showcases Gomez’s supple soloing and echoes the effortless mastery of both players, which resonates throughout.
— Lissette Corsa