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Album Review

As its title promises, this is perfect Brazilian vocal-lite for a breezy, balmy summer day. Irene's backstory is unique and exotic, even if it's not as Rio-centric as the music she makes with her ensemble of brilliant, mostly Brazilian born musicians. In 2003, she went to karaoke night at Club Med in Bora Bora and was immediately offered a three-week gig singing at the resort, which led to ongoing engagements. On her very likeable debut, the independent singer isn't trying to make anyone forget Astrud Gilberto; despite her facility with other languages (French, Spanish and Portuguese), she lacks the cool finesse and sensual charms of the real deal. It's more of a celebration of that classic style, complete with engaging covers of two Jobim songs identified with Gilberto, "Waters of March" and "One Note Samba," and another of the famed singer's classics — this album's title track. It's a mixed bag beyond that, ranging from a sweaty and romantic "Bésame Mucho" to Jobim's frisky and hypnotic "Só Danço Samba," the laid-back "Samba Saravah" a soulful version of Irving Berlin's "Let's Face the Music and Dance," and a slightly cabaret-styled version of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." While hardcore fans of Brazilian music will still prefer to go to Rio for their music, it's good to see upcoming American singers keeping alive the spirit of a music that took over the pop charts in the '60s.

Summer Samba, Irene and Her Latin Jazz Band
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