An artist who is well versed in both Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian sounds, Raquel Cepeda also brings a healthy amount of American swing to this Latin Jazz record that’s quite personal and absolutely flawless in its delivery.
“Caravan” gets the album off to an energetic start with bright brass and shuffling percussion as Cepeda’s fluid and varied pipes guide the fun, and this continues to the soft and alluring “Moliendo Cafe” as agile keys and sensual vocals in Portuguese define the tune.
The middle of the disc brings us the festive setting of “Mil Congojas”, as proficient percussion dances around the warm melodies, while “Lloraras” offers 7 minutes of light key and moody strings in the cultured ballad atmosphere where strategic flute solos leave an impression. One of the strongest tunes present, the aptly titled “Little Gem”, then uses accordions and sublime singing for a playful, pop influenced standout.
Near the end, “Luz De Luna” finds a glorious and lush place to reside, and the ultra tuneful “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” ends the listen with a spirited presentation of dance floor friendly grooves and lively rhythm.
A native of Venezuela who now resides in Houston, Cepeda is in fine company here as world class players help these 5 originals shine while the 8 covers are reborn in her esteemed multi-lingual and multi-cultural approach where her world jazz vision is unparalleled.