Carla Hassett: + Blue
2016: Paulista Records
Carla Hassett on Guitar, Vocals
Andre de Santanna on Bass
Gibi on Percussion
Pablo Medina on Wurlitzer
Chris Bautista on Trumpet
JP Floyd on Trombone
Felipe Fraga on Percussion
Alberto Lopez on Percussion
Benedikt Braydern on Violin
Jacob Hassett on Viola
Sarah O’Brien on Cello
Bill Brendie on Accordion
Thalma de Freitas on Vocals
Aaron Serfaty on Snare, Cymbals
Evan Greer on Drums, Tambourine
Matt Rhode on Hammond B3 Organ
Leonardo Costa on Drums & Percussion
Wes Smith on Alto, Tenor, Baritone Sax, Flute
Ben Lewis on Rhodes, Mellotron, Synthesizer
Fabiano do Nascimento on String Nylon Guitar
João Pedro Mourão on Guitars, Cavaquinho, Viôla Caipira
Caro Pierotto, Grecco Buratto, Felipe Fraga on Backing Vocals
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 14, 2016
This CD is a thrilling discovery, like opening a magical trunk, with so many musical surprises. One only has to see the expansive list of instrumental collaborators on this album to realize the stunning arrangements that São Paulo-born Carla Rigolin Hassett has in store for the listener. It would be impossible to mention all the musicians again, but I would note that the accordion (Bill Brendie), Wurlitzer (Pablo Medina), viôla caipira (João Pedro Mourão), Hammond B3 organ (Matt Rhode), plus viola, violin, and cello, all imbued the ten generous tracks with scintillating, sparkling sound. Ms. Hassett’s seven original compositions, each unique to itself, offered an exhilarating, Brazilian aura with crisply enunciated Portuguese vocals. But, most importantly, this woman sings as a pro, with rapid waterfalls of lyrical tone.
#2 – Pois É E Tal – Composed by Carla Rigolin Hassett. This hip, contemporary track, with backup singers joining Ms. Hassett and vocalist, Thalma de Freitas, has rousing, joyous, samba rhythm, with an extraordinary party ambiance. Groovy strings and keys contrast with shimmering, tropical percussion. A warbling flute even beckons us to the Amazon, or maybe Ms. Hassett’s Brazilian, Chicago neighborhood, where her early musical talent was formed. A theme of this album is Ms. Hassett’s two entrenched cultures, and she sings a few tracks in English, but I prefer her native Portuguese, heard on this ebullient track.
#3 – Guerreira Vai – Composed by Carla Rigolin Hassett. On listening to this original tune, I thought São Paulo had landed in Cajun Country, with a feverish accordion solo, popping from Ms. Hassett’s over-dubbed vocals, morphing her into a one-woman chorus. I could see this music as a score for modern dance, as well as a staple for Brazilian bars and clubs. The vibe is so rambunctious and contagious, you’ll be dancing in place. Ms. Hassett, on the faculty of Silverlake Conservatory of Music, knows how to blend and spotlight her personalized orchestra with expertise.
#6 – Sangue Da Terra – Composed by Carla Rigolin Hassett. This pure Brazilian samba, another Hassett composition, is sung with eloquent tonality in an astounding, masterful range. She’s joined here, among others, by Fabiano do Nascimento on string nylon guitar, and Leonardo Costa and Alberto Lopez on percussion. This track is sensual as samba gets, with nuanced African pulse, and the melodies are magnetic.
#8 – Forte – Composed by Carla Rigolin Hassett. With backup singers and João Pedro Mourão on a lush guitar solo, and with bass, drums, and percussion, this sultry, languid tune, infused with a sense of longing and romance, is spellbinding. It appears that Ms. Hassett’s vocals were over-dubbed once again, an enticing pattern, and flashes of funk can be heard in this lovely song, all in Portuguese, all with passion.