Both a musical citizen of the world and the ultimate multi-talented creative hyphenate, Rio born, Los Angeles based Bianca Rossini has enjoyed a dizzying career, expressing herself over the years as an actress, poet, writer, TV talk show host, arts columnist, dancer and choreographer. Yet as we dream, sway, groove and even rock along to her triumphant third full album, the perfectly titled Apaixonada, it’s clear that her ultimate emotional impact and cultural legacy with be through her ever-evolving artistry as a vocalist and songwriter of uncommon originality and versatility.
Since her debut album Kiss of Brazil in 2011 – which hit #1 in Pandora’s jazz bossa nova category - songs from her steady flow of acclaimed albums and Eps have spun on hundreds of jazz in over 20 countries and her tracks have been streamed hundreds of thousands of times, including 1M+ for “Passo a Passo.” Many of these previous works have spotlighted her foundational passions for traditional Brazilian jazz, her dreamy, intimate vocals focused on a sultry slow burning coolness surrounded by classic bossa/samba rhythms.
With the funky grooves, boisterous energy and powerful vocals on the opening title track, Bianca lets us know from the get-go on this dynamic 10 track collection she’s taking a fresh and emphatic swirl into the contemporary pop realm. Though she likewise keeps the higher octane jazz/pop fire burning and her rangy vocals soaring on tracks like “Pé No Chão,” the horn fired “Sei Lá Sei,” sassy, soulful “Terra Natal” and the intoxicating closer “Sempre Acaba no Barzinho,” Bianca complements and balances these the more traditional-minded, breezy gem like “Maringá,” and the lush, romantic ballads “Lua Dourada” (featuring the gorgeous piano elegance of Yuko Tamura) and “Luiza,” which all at once capture the smoother sparkle and yearning emotion in her voice.
Whatever style she’s singing in, we don’t have to know Portuguese (or read an English translation of the lyrics) to feel her tug on the heartstrings and excitement for getting people up and dancing. As with her other recordings, perhaps the greatest, most enduring gift Bianca gives us on Apaixonada is creating new potential Brazilian standards that stack up superbly with the bossa classics that still enrapture us 60 years on. If we didn’t know Bianca had penned these ten tunes, we might be inclined to think these were simply new renditions of classics we had overlooked or were slightly obscure.
Bringing them to life and richly deserving special kudos are the 15 veteran musicians from Brazil, Portugal, New York and California who create the magic behind her – most notably, pianists Tamura and Flávio Medeiros, trumpeter Luiz Alves and co-producer Peter Roberts, who contributes his all-encompassing brilliance on piano, guitar, percussion, strings, drums and programming.