Kat Parra is one vocalist who doesn’t limit her
repertoire to the standards known as the American Songbook. In fact, she
reaches beyond normal boundaries with interesting arrangements of the
songs she does cover.
Las Aventuras de Pasion! (JazzMa Records, 2012) features Parra
with a variable assembly of players, including pianist Murray Low and
trombonist/arranger Wayne Wallace.
A Puerto Rican bomba groove sets the tone for the delightful take on
“Iko Iko,” with lyrics by Zap Mama. The horn trio adds some nice fills,
but this is mainly about the lively arrangement matched with Parra’s
voice. John Worley’s trumpet solo gives it an extra kick.
Parra penned the charming ballad, “Call Your Name.” Mads Tolling and
Lila Sklar bring a nice touch with violins, complemented by Emily
Onderdonk on violas. The piece is dedicated to drummer Paul van
Wanginingen who contributed to the recording despite health issues.
This isn’t your typical Latin jazz album, signified
by driving beats, horns and loads of percussion. While some of those
elements are present, they’re broken down into small units, focusing
mainly on the lyrics and Parra’s voice. That approach means several
tracks lack the punch one might expect from Latin jazz, but other
elements come through vividly, like traditional African styles and
perhaps a little Gypsy music.