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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Samba, Jazz and Love

Enja ENJ 9593 2



1. Love Parfait
2. O Barquinho
3. Samba E Amor
4. Desafinado
5. Rio Paraiso
6. Triste De quem
7. So Danço Samba
8. Preciso Me Encontrar
9. Canta Mais
10. Chovendo Na Roseira
11. Desde De Que O Samba E Samba

Cristina Braga - Vocals, harp
Ricardo Medeiros - Double bass
Jess‚ Sadoc - Trumpet, flugelhorn
Joca Moraes - Alfaia drums, tambourin
Arthur Dutra - vibraphone


Cristina Braga is a versatile Brazilian harpist who has played with symphony orchestras as well as pop musicians. For this album she assembled an unusual line-up, including Ricardo Medeiros as musical director and bassist, plus trumpet doubling flugelhorn, vibes and percussion. Odd as this group may appear, their instruments merge beautifully together in a programme devoted mainly to bossa novas.

Besides playing the harp with captivating delicacy, Cristina also sings sweetly, although her voice often sinks to a whisper and her intonation tends to be unclear. This makes the singing difficult to decipher, especially as most of the vocals are in Portuguese. Even the familiar Desafinado which she sings in English is hard to catch. That is one of four songs on the album composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim: the others are So Danço Samba, Canta Mais and the instrumental Chovendo Na Roseira.

Because the lyrics are vague, you may find yourself ignoring them and simply enjoying the rich mix of the music. You might expect the trumpet to overwhelm the rest of the group but Jess‚ Sadoc plays with admirable restraint, fitting in well with the other musicians. Cristina plays some excellent solos, and her harp blends comfortably with Arthur Dutra's vibes. The music is firmly anchored by Ricardo Medeiros's bass and Joca Moraes's placid drumming.

When I reviewed an album by Carol Robbins, I mentioned that there are few harpists brave enough to play jazz on this complex instrument. Now we can add Cristina Braga to this select body.

Tony Augarde

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