2. Sentado a Beira do Caminho
3. A Chuva Caiu
4. Yeah Man
5. Senso Unico
6. Dear Dee Vee
7. Bronzes e Cristais
Tania Maria - Piano, vocals
Eddie Gomez - Bass
This isn't exactly the Tania Maria I was brought up with. My first encounter with her music was a 1984 album entitled "The Real Tania Maria: Wild!". And she certainly was wild, especially in the rousing Yatra-Ta, where she scatted along to a catchy tune with an irresistible Latin rhythm. In fact she had become famous through the Come With Me album from the previous year and she has recorded prolifically ever since then.
This new album might be described as the very opposite of the wild aspect of Tania Maria. Here her vocals and piano are predominantly gentle, and she is accompanied only by bassist Eddie Gomez. Eddie's versatility pays off in the variety of ways he supports Tania. Sometimes he simply reinforces the Latin beat that Tania supplies with her piano and vocals. At other times he plays contrapuntally with Tania, interweaving with her solos. And he does a few excellent solos of his own.
As for Tania, she continually surprises with her very individual interpretations of songs. For example, the opening Estate (i.e. "Summer") is usually performed as a bossa nova but Tania presents it as an out-of-tempo ballad. There is only one problem with her performances and that is that she sings in foreign languages, which makes it difficult to appreciate the lyrics fully. Perhaps this doesn't matter too much, as there is great pleasure just in relaxing while listening to Tania's seductive singing. She often sings in unison with her piano playing, which is very attractive. On Sentado a Beira do Caminho she even whistles along with the piano.
The language problem doesn't occur in the middle tracks of the album, which are instrumentals. Yeah Man starts off as a surprising slice of boogie-woogie before developing into a hesitating blues, with some fine bass from Eddie Gomez. Senso Unico is a beautifully floating tune composed by Tania, with contrasting slow and fast sections Dear Dee Vee (another of the pianist's originals) is the nearest we get to the Tania Maria I encountered in Yatra-Ta. Tania scats, squeaks and shouts to fill the gaps in the catchy samba-like tune, and she (with sterling help from Eddie Gomez) manages to suggest the presence of Latin-American percussion even though there isn't any. Gomez's bass solo also has built-in rhythm. The tune actually reminds me of Chick Corea's Spain in its vigour and complexity.
Back to the vocals for the last two numbers. Again, I wish I understood the words but Tania's alluring voice makes it seem inessential. The title-track starts almost as a piano concerto but it settles down into a Herbie Hancock-style rhythm with sturdy involvement from Eddie Gomez's deep bass.
This album proves that the (comparatively) docile Tania Maria can be as exciting as the wild one.