Clarice Assad, Imaginarium
Pianist and singer-songwriter-composer Clarice Assad comes from a premier Brazilian musical family that includes guitarist brothers Sergio & Odair Assad (who excel at tangoes), their younger sister, guitarist-singer Badi Assad (a penetrating interpreter of diverse pop and jazz in the ’90s who had some motor-skills medical problems and has never quite recovered). Sergio is Clarice’s father. Although Imaginarium was the most potent and exciting Brazilian album I heard all year, I did not go for a formal review because I had not heard any of her other three albums. Complete research is often not possible, but none is surely not enough.
Now I have checked out Home (2011), which features larger helping of neo-Tropicalia originals and covers and even more of Assad’s rollicking scat-singing. But it’s small-ensemble backing and I bet the more than 50 players and singers on Imaginarium are what she’s needed to get all her styles on display and in limber motion. It’s louder, faster, more insistent, includes more jazz, a winking passage of light opera and best of all a couple of outright jokes, which she needed more than was evident. And sure, pretty bell-like voice.