Charismatic Reviewed by: Lee Callaghan Evolution Music Press January 15, 2019
Argentinian jazz singer, Laura Valle has finally released a follow up to her 2007 smash hit, Perlas.Charismatic is an eleven song collection of Jazz, Pop, Bossa Nova, and Soul. Featuring songs sung in Spanish, German (Was Ist Liebe?) and English, Charismatic appeals to a wide audience with sultry vocals, upbeat tempos, smooth walking bass, and expert piano melodies. By utilizing songwriting in multiple styles, Laura Valle can transverse the musical field with a mature, professional approach capturing the true essence of jazz, and the desire to connect with her audience.
The opening track, Vos y Yo, or You and Me explores the idiosyncrasies present in any partnership, the desires to complement each other while opposing the natural paths every individual should follow. The celebration of the bizarre things people may do together when you live your life “un canto libre de gorriones (a free song of sparrows).” The wonderful use of the vocal trills encapsulating the choruses keeps this piece light-hearted and easy to sway to while the quick-paced tempo keeps the feet tapping and the fingers snapping. “Dame un trozo de tu cruda rareza y yo te dare algo de mi tibia impureza (Give me a piece of your crude rarity, and I will give you something of my warm impurity),” this clever use of lyricism creates a contrasting metaphor which begs for more profound interpretation.
Title-track for Charismatic is an English sung piano-heavy piece which showcases Laura Valle’s range as a vocalist. The high register Laura dabbles in adds more soul and diversity to the already detailed musicality of this piece. Charismatic touches on the power of a seductive smile, as the world seems to unfold with a look, we give into each other and fall in love, “Oo oo I blame it on his charismatic smile, but it’s also about the way he holds me tight through the night.” According to Laura’s press, charismatic was the last song to be written for this album, yet it sums up the overall vibe with a decisive point.
Things really start swinging with Seres Humano, (Humans), a smooth jazz number behind a swing rhythm. This song explores the potential for humanity to become better than we currently are, it challenges people to reach out and help our fellow neighbors. This touching social issue is presented in rich tapestry of contrasting vocal styles, an almost operatic mezzo-soprano coupled with a swaying, melodious croon.
The highlight piece on Charismatic, in this reviewer’s opinion though is Parte del Pacto (Part of the Deal).This funky, Bossa Nova track delivers the bottom end and compels the listener to get up dancing. Bass player, Don Read gets right in the pocket with the drummer, Bill Hartel on this number allowing pianist, Brad Vinikow freedom to explore the chords and vamp in a carefree manner, capturing that Bossa feeling. The call and response styles Laura utilizes here as she is harmonized with the piano make this track a sure single. “Como un globo en el cielo nuestro amor volará .... (Like a balloon in the sky our love will fly ...)”, and our hearts along with it as we reach for the repeat button over again.
Although reviewing all eleven tracks is outside the scope of this review, we can surmise, this is a highly delightful album rich in musicality, and an essential addition to any jazz fans collection. The repeatability of every song would make this album a tasty fit into any jazz, adult contemporary radio format. Utilizing different sung languages, and performing them with this amount of gusto, proves the untapped potential of this artist. The performance of Laura Valle and her band are well-rehearsed, professional, and highly talented, making Charismatic our pick for best jazz album of 2019, our only concern is how good this album could have been without the twelve-year break.