Anna Estrada’s voice has a rich, soothing quality,
enhanced by her versatility of style and language. The San Francisco
Bay-area vocalist scores with her third release, Volando (Feral Flight
Productions, 2012). The 12-song set brings a taste of Latin and Brazilian,
throwing in some clever arrangements of pop and rock hits.
Estrada injects a bit of Mediterranean sound on the medley of the Beatles’
“Happinesss Is a Warm Gun / I want You.” The mood is augmented by Rich
Kuhns’ accordion and Tommy Kesecher’s marimba.
That is followed by a hint of up-tempo reggae on Jorge
Ben’s “Mais Que Nada.” Instrumental enhancements include Al Bent’s
trombone, Phil Thompson’s drum play and the electric bass solo by Alex
Baum. Kuhns accents some phrases with the organ.
Estrada presents a high-speed, samba-influenced rendition of Harry
Nillson’s “Everybody’s Talking.” Baum’s bass line helps carry the piece,
with assistance from Thompson, guitarist Ray Scott and pianist Jonathan
Alford, the latter two stretching out with delightful middle solos.
When she’s not singing, Estrada is an anesthesiologist, actress and
champion fencer. Each of those practices comes through in her music. Her
easy movement from Spanish to English to Portuguese is like a fencer
skillfully avoid her opponent’s thrusts while scoring her own. The actor
in her helps her vocal characterization. And if the listener’s not
careful, he might fall under the spell of her voice – not exactly like
being put to sleep but certainly can render one transfixed.