Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Guida de Palma & Jazzinho But Were Afraid to Ask.
The force behind Jazzinho is Lisbon native Guida de Palma. Her Twitter feed states: “I’m a mother, I’m a singer, I’m a teacher, and I’m a sinner. I play my music in the sun.” This summarises rather well her ethos.
With a unique voice full of sensuality and strength, de Palma can soar in high notes just as easily as when she is singing Bossa Nova tunes. At times she will make you think you are listening to Flora Purim or even the soul sounds of The Emotions. Nevertheless, she claims as her major influences names such as Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Joyce, Chico Buarque, Marcos Valle, Gilberto Gil, Elis Regina, Azymuth and Ed Motta.[maxbutton id=”8″]
Of course she does not leave behind talents from her native Portugal: Mariza and Afonso and Kyao. She says she is into many styles and does not limit herself to a very narrow genre. That, in essence, in Jazzinho, a bouncy and captivating release featuring de Palma’s awesome vocals and swing.
Portuguese born, and classically trained Guida de Palma was only sixteen when bass legend and fallen angel Jaco Pastorius hopped on stage to join her during her very first gigs in Paris. Blessed by this almost divine collaboration, Guida went on singing her way onto various stages across Europe. With her crew of Latin Funketeers, she played support to prestigious performers ranging from Cab Calloway, Defunkt and Gilberto Gil. Freshly arrived in the UK, and alongside prestigious names like Tina Turner, Terence Trent d’Arby, Lala Hathaway and Chaka Khan, Guida featured in the BEF’s “Music of quality and distinction”.
She also joined Californian sax player Ronnie Laws for his European tour, culminating in Montreux Jazz Festival’s rapturous closing night. Also involved in production, Guida, a certified sound engineer, assisted legendary producer Juni Morrison of P Funk and Ohio Players fame in recording tracks with George Clinton. After working with Dodge City Production, DJ Dorfmeister, Dzihan & Kamien, DJ Disciple and Boyz from Brazil, Guida has evolved from a pure live performance mindset to one of club culture.
Besides her commitment to Jazzinho, Guida also has sung in other bands like Da Lata. She is also the featured vocalist on numerous other albums e.g: Nathan Haynes, Kyoto Jazz Massive etc…. Check out her complete discography.
Jazzinho, for those not familiar with the Portuguese language structure, is a hybrid word deriving from Jazz and the Portuguese suffix, “-inho” which denotes small.
Guida’s first album includes her song collaborators Christian Franck (guitar), Michele Chiavarini (bass, drums, percussion, guitar, keyboards), Angilley (keyboards, accordion) as well as more than a dozen guest artists playing flutes, saxes, trombone, trumpet, flugelhorn. De Palma sings in Portuguese and English, and at times she masterfully switches back and forth between the two languages without creating any sharp corners. To the listener, it is all music, danceable music, where language is no barrier whatsoever. Of course, if you are intrigued by what she is singing, you can take out the liner notes booklet and follow the lyrics.
With a strong opener such as “Yambou” the fast baião rhythm with tons of jazz influence is very catchy. De Palma does some remarkable duets with Angilley’s accordion solos in a dazzling display of vocal ability. The second track, “Sim ou Não” gives you plenty to rave about with sounds very reminiscent of the legendary Trio Mocotó. The same track appears as a bonus in a Sleepwalker remix. The remix maintains the beat but features a whole new acoustic ensemble with the accompaniment of Masato Nakamura (flute), Tomokazu Sugimoto (bass), Noboaki Fujii (drums) and Hajime Yoshizawa (piano). Yoshizawa’s and Nakamura’s astonishing solos are out of this world. In more mellow tunes, such as “Moody Maria” and “Constelação” the energy in Jazzinho is always present with its vocals and tight ensemble arrangements.
The Bossa Nova-influenced numbers “Velejou” and “Malmequer” are a joy to hear, too. In particular, the vocal harmonies created in “Malmequer” are performed admirably. “Camponesa” is yet another interesting number. Its Portuguese and Middle Eastern influences are clearly evident in the lyrics, instrumentation and vocal accompaniment used. Ali Slimani’s derbuka solos and vocals set the song apart. Finally, closing the album with Menescal and Bôscoli’s classic “Telefone” is a magnificent jam session for musicians and vocalist alike. De Palma’s scat singing in the middle of this song is out of this world.
Atlas – released on Adrian Gibson’s label Freestyle and produced in London by Ed Motta is out now. Alongside Jazzinho, the list of special guests features seventies legends like vocalist guitarist Hamish Stuart of Average White Band fame, analogue keyboard wizard Max Middleton from the Jeff Beck Band and Free Jazz flugelhorn veteran Harry Beckett. The first EP features a remix by Nicola Conte. This new opus, recorded at Fortress Studio exclusively on vintage equipment and instruments, mixes sounds from the Portuguese speaking world with 70s rare groove.