Ron Carter & Vitoria Maldonado, Brasil L.I.K.E. Versões Review
by Roland Freerier
Ron Carter and Brazilian vocalist Vitoria Maldonado have released another album together titled Brasil L.I.K.E. Versões. The legendary Carter’s bass skills have literally shaped the sound of jazz for decades. For the new album, he is joined by his quartet— pianist Renee Rosnes, drummer Payton Crossley and percussionist Rolando Morales-Matos. Maldonado studied at Berklee before returning to Brazil, and her singing is an amalgamation of jazz and Brazilian music. Brasil L.I.K.E. Versões (stands for Love, Inspiration, Knowledge, Energy) reflects this union as the songs range from the Great American Songbook standards from Cole Porter and the Gershwins to Jobim/de Moraes. The arrangements were written and produced by Ruria Duprat. All the players and arrangements a designed to expose the tasty congeniality of Vitoria Maldonado. Brasil L.I.K.E. Versões features all the same songs found on their 2017 release, Brasil L.I.K.E., but Maldonado sings the songs in Portuguese.
Opening with “Noite e Dia,” the music pulls you into the easy swaying world of Maldonado’s vocal allures. If you enjoyed Brasil L.I.K.E., hearing her singing this song in Portuguese is even sweeter. The arrangement is fresh and creative, allowing Maldonado to be the center of the ensemble. The soloists perform passionately, and the band is relaxed and focused on the feel. Carter always has a fantastic pulse to his bass playing, and this song is no exception.
Hearing Maldonado’s version of “Raia o Luar” or “How High the Moon” is a simple joy. Her singing in Portuguese is even more alluring than her English, which does have a strong accent. The arrangement is beautifully written, with strings providing a romantic flair. This arrangement might not be groundbreaking, but it does highlight Maldonado’s interpretation of the melody, which is what any great arrangement’s function is; to highlight the lead voice. Maldonado does possess a beautiful voice, and her delivery accentuates the warmth of the Brazilian rhythm of the ensemble.
Brasil L.I.K.E. Versões is a beautiful addition to the collaboration between Carter and Maldonado. Hearing the Portuguese lyrics to these classics is a delight, and the arrangements are well-conceived and expertly performed. Getting Brasil L.I.K.E. Versões and Brasil L.I.K.E. will be a welcome bump to the Latin Jazz catalog. The former stands out because of the Portuguese lyrics, which allow Maldonado’s voice to excel with her accent and flirty turns.