Monday, September 22, 2008

Singles from Argentina

Maria Puga Lareo
In a Sentimental Mood
Beijo Partido with Quique Sinesi
My Keter Records downloads

Welcome to the post-album future. This is the first time I have reviewed EP’s available only online, but I suspect it might become an increasingly widespread practice. Truly, the downloading revolution ended the days of bulking up albums with mediocre tracks, so more and more singles and EP’s are turning up exclusively at online retailers. Such is the case with Maria Puga Lareo’s single “In a Sentimental Mood” and her two-song EP recorded with Quique Sinesi.

Though released earlier in the year, the publicity campaign is evidently just ramping up. Despite some overdubbing effects, all three tracks express the spare intimacy of a duo setting. During “Sentimental” Lareo is primarily accompanied by the sensitive playing of pianist Frank Collett, an American jazz pianist probably best known for his work with Carmen McRae and Louis Bellson. Producer Fernando Gelbard, a jazz pianist countrymen of Lareo’s, adds a tasteful solo of his own, in nice wistful take on the Ellington standard.

With Argentinean guitarist Quique Sinesi, Lareo also recorded two Brazilian songs of a distinctly romantic flavor. Here Lareo’s delivery is breathier, caressing the lyrics of “Beijo Partido” and “Atras Da Porta.” Probably best known to American audiences for recordings with Pablo Ziegler, Sinesi is delicate and expressive in support, getting a nice little solo turn on “Beijo.” Through over-dubbing, Lareo harmonizes with herself before taking the track out. While slower in tempo, “Atras” might frankly be a bit too similar in theme and tone for the purposes of an EP. As background listening, they blend together in the ear. Lareo’s vocals on “Atras” express even greater yearning and are quite pretty, but more variety might have showcased her range to better effect.

These are three nice tracks, proving Lareo can certainly do the dreamy Brazilian thing. According to the “liner notes” an album with Eddie Gomez on bass is forthcoming. It will be interesting to hear if she stretches in new directions with its release.