I recently received the new album from Portuguese vocalist Sonia Pinto and what a surprise it is. I receive many CD’s for review however rarely does one grab your attention from the get go in the manner that this CD did. Titled “Why try to change me now” this album marks Pinto’s recording debut and features a selection of well worn standards and some lesser know repertoire wrapped up in some very interesting arrangements by pianist Pedro Neves.
Sonia Pinto, a native of Portugal studied jazz vocal at the School of Music and Arts of Porto and formed her current working band featuring Pedro Neves – piano, Bruno Macedo – guitar, Miguel Ângelo – bass and Leandro Leonet on drums soon after graduation. Since it’s inception that band has become one of the fixtures on the local Porto jazz scene and the countless hours this group have shared on stage translates well to the studio delivering a tight and well-controlled performance on the recording.
The album opens with “Almost Like Being in Love” and while perhaps not the most adventurous arrangement of the set forms a great opening for the album and left this listener asking for more. Cry me a river follows and is given a blues treatment with plenty of room for guitarist Bruno Macedo to show off his Blues chops.
The Cy Coleman classic and album title track is next cab of the rank. Having been covered by countless artists from Frank Sinatra to Bob Dylan I found Pinto’s interpretation of the lyric beguiling and possibly one of the best readings of this well worn classic I’ve heard in many years. Of particular note on this track is Pedro Neves sensitive accompaniment giving Pinto all the room necessary to tell the story.
Steve Kuhn’s “The Saga Of Harrison Crabfeathers” is given new lyrics written by Pinto. There is no doubt that this track is one of the highlights of this album, Pinto’s Lyrics provide an extra dimension and her vocal performance is strong however it’s ensembles performance that truly shines here. The arrangement is based over 6/8 percussive bed laid down by drummer Leandro Leonet where one would swear he was playing Tabla drums and features well-crafted solo’s from bassist Miguel Ângelo and Pedro Neves.
To be honest if tend to shudder when I see “Fly Me to the Moon” on an album’s tracklist, after all I believe we need another version of this song like we need a second term from Donald Trump. That said, I loved the arrangement of this tired old standard on this album. With the melody hung over a pedal point and the reharmonization Pinto and band breath new life into the Bart Howard classic.
Other notable tracks on the album include a up-tempo version of Dave Frishberg’s “Peel Me A Grape” made famous by Blossom Dearie and a great reading of the Christopher Cross 1980’s hit Sailing.
I enjoyed this album from top to tail, if your a fan of vocal jazz, this album is well worth a listen. I believe we will be hearing far more from Sonia Pinto in the near future.
Release Date: 25 October 2019
Format: CD | Digital
Label Mons Records
You can purchase the album here.
Last modified: November 30, 2019