Following up on his 2016 Latin Grammy Nomination for “Song Of The Year,” Finbury brings forth nine new Brazilian originals featuring once again the exquisite vocals of Marcella Camargo.
Pitanga, from songwriter John Finbury and featuring vocalist Marcella Camargo, is the second album of its kind: original songs from maestro Finbury performed by songstress Camargo.
With songs composed by Finbury, Ned Claflin, and Patty Brayden, this album provides a panoramic of Brazilian music forms and traditions: samba-reggae, bossa nova, and Latin jazz. Sung in Portuguese and English, the tunes convey a visceral authenticity, borne of Brazilian music traditions and inspired by great artists like Antonio Carlos Jobim. At the same time, the music hews to the songwriter’s own voice, furnishing a fresh and intrepid expression. Not only is the songwriting first class, but the band is composed of veritable all-stars in their own right: Tim Ray, Oscar Stagnaro, Mark Walker, Ricardo Monzon, Eduardo Mercuri, Norman Zocher, Eugene Friesen, and the late Roberto Cassan.
The album opens with the title song, Pitanga; the king of the Brazilian fruits. The flavors of the fruit are captured in the samba-reggae Abaixo rhythms and melodies of this Carnival tune. Next up is A Feathered Thing, a beautiful Jobim inspired bossa nova. The lyrics for this composition are written by Patty Brayden, inspired by wordsmiths Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and The Bard. Coração Me Diga is a more pensive track with jazz-infused harmonies; Entre Pedacinhos opens with a gorgeous vocal and piano jazz waltz duet which transitions elegantly into a bossa.
Paraty is named for the beautifully preserved Portuguese colonial coastal town near Rio de Janiero; bandits and lovers often steal away in its quarters. This upbeat, danceable tune reflects the lush history and life in these celebrated vistas. Dia Ideal, with Portuguese lyrics by Claflin, reflects the more intimate and emotional expressive abilities of the artists. Meu Velho Friend appeared as an instrumental on the group’s last critically acclaimed album, Imaginário (2016 Latin Grammy nomination for Song of The Year-“A Chama Verde”); here, it’s given fresh life with charming lyrics and a skillfully patterned vocal line. There Among The Pieces artfully showcases the band’s versatility: written with Willie Nelson in mind, Camargo proves to be not only a tantalizing Brazilian singer but an adept country singer as well. The album closes with A Great Believer In Luck, a touching homage to Finbury’s father – a Naval officer who participated in (and lived through) eleven marine landings in the South Pacific during World War II.