Gaudencio Thiago De Mello
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Thiago de Mello has had a reputation for being one of the more singer-friendly instrumentalists in Brazilian jazz, but even so, it came as a surprise when, in November 2005, the veteran percussionist recorded an album as singer-driven as Amor Mais Que Perfeito. On this 68-minute Brazilian jazz/Brazilian pop CD, de Mello doesn't simply feature singers on one or two selections; he features them on almost all of the selections (the good-natured "Doce Açucena" is the album's lone instrumental). Four different female singers, all of them from Brazil, are featured on Amor Mais Que Perfeito: Ithamara Koorax (who has appeared on some of de Mello's other albums), Fátima Guedes, Andrea Dutra, and Cris Delanno. Koorax is featured on five of the 14 tracks (including the dreamy "Amor Mais Que Perfeito" and the funky, vibrant "Saracura"), while Dutra is heard on one track ("Canto da Saudade") and Guedes is heard on one ("Quem Cozinha Não Lava"). Most of the lyrics are in Portuguese, although Delanno has no problem singing in perfect English on "Blue Sky," "Don't Turn Away," and the gospel-influenced offerings "A Morning Prayer" and "An Evening Prayer." In fact, only one of the four songs that features Delanno is in Portuguese: "A Vida Não Está Boa." And even though Amor Mais Que Perfeito is largely a vocal album, de Mello still gives some solo space to talented Brazilian improvisers like soprano saxophonist Zé Carlos Bigorna, pianist Haroldo Mauro, Jr., and guitarist Flavio Goulart (who produced this album with de Mello in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). Regrettably, there are many instrumentalists in the jazz world who dislike singers in general, but de Mello obviously doesn't feel that way — and his singer-friendly attitude yields excellent results on Amor Mais Que Perfeito.