romance goes, the cross connection couldn’t be more appropriate. Vocalist
Carmen Cuesta celebrates bossa nova, that elegant blend of Brazilian song
and North American jazz. Mi Bossa Nova (Tweety Records, 2011) is a
collection of 11 titles, seven of them written by renowned Brazilian
composer Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Cuesta’s core accompanists are pianist Matt King, drummer Brian Dunne ,
percussionist David Charles and her husband, guitarist Chuck Loeb, who
also plays keyboards and, on selected tracks, bass. Bassist Christian
Diener appears on several songs.
“Jobim” is Cuesta’s tribute to the artist whose music provides the deepest
inspiration for Cuesta. Cuesta’s blends well with the flutes. The lyrics
provide hints of Jobim’s great songwriting, mentioning locations like
Copacabana, Ipanema and Corcovado, as well as the “waters of March.” The
song features flutists David Mann, Christina Loeb and Lizzy Loeb.
Howard Levy provides the harmonica for “Tormenta,” a charming, yet
brooding appeal for the rain to wash away the sorrow. Levy provides fills
after vocal phrases and also has the middle solo. Though the lyrics are
sad, the melody is lovely.
Born in Madrid, Spain, Cuesta fell in love with bossa nova upon hearing
the Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto/Astrud Gilberto recording of “Girl from
Ipanema,” recognized by many as the definitive song that popularized the
style. In 1979, she met Loeb, who was touring with Getz. When the couple
married, Getz was the best man. Over the years, Cuesta has accompanied
Grover Washington Jr., Michael Franks, Gato Barbieri, Peabo Bryson, Earl
Klugh and many others.
The inspiration for Mi Bossa Nova came during a 20-show tour of the
U.S. East Coast, during which Cuesta and Loeb performed the music that
brought them together.