Badi Assad – Verde – Badi Assad, vocals and guitar; featuring Nana Vasconcelos and Cordel do fogo Encantado; many others – DGG Edge

by | Oct 21, 2005 | Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews | 0 comments

Badi Assad – Verde – Badi Assad, vocals and guitar; featuring
Nana Vasconcelos and Cordel do fogo Encantado; many others – DGG Edge
B0004978-02 – 46 min. ***:

Badi Assad comes from a musical family; her bothers are the Assad duo
with a number of spectacular classical guitar and crossover recordings
on the Nonesuch label, and she also received extensive training in
classical guitar. Rather than pursuing a classically-oriented career,
she was drawn to the rhythms of Brazilian music and to following her
own muse, and gained international acclaim with a series of recordings
she did for the Chesky label in the mid nineties. I have to be honest
here – I was much taken by the seductive bossa nova stylings of her
Chesky label mate Ana Caram, and virtually paid no attention to Ms.
Assad during her heyday with Chesky.

Ms. Assad is now on Deutsche Grammophon’s Edge label, and this record
is her first disc of new music in almost seven years. She has chosen to
continue her exploration of traditional Brazilian music, but has
infused the mix with an eclectic selection of songs from a variety of
genres, including five original compositions.

“Eclectic” might be stating the case mildly; she’s obviously not
content to maintain the status quo with a set of retreads of tired
Bossa Nova standards, which might have been the safe route to take.I’ve
listened to this disc extensively of late, and I’m not quite sure what
to make of it. Granted, it has grown on me considerably, and while
there’s much to like here, I just don’t think everything completely
works – the musical styles are sometimes so disparate, it makes the
proceedings seem a little disjointed. And besides, early on, you don’t
hear much of that striking guitar work she’s received so much praise
for. About halfway through the album, her guitar stylings become much
more prominent, and I then find the music darn near irresistible. And
while I don’t criticize her for following her muse, I can’t help but
find the end results a little mixed.

For example, she does two covers of contemporary pop tunes; I find her
cover of U2’s “One” to be almost totally lacking in character. But
later in the album she covers Bjork’s “Bachelorette,” giving it a
Piazolla-esque tango treatment that just knocks me out! It’s at this
point that the album really begins to gel artistically, and I find the
rest of the song selection very interesting and entertaining. And
undeniably, the very best songs are the ones that feature her superb
guitar work. Recommended. [Agreed, but don’t deny us the guilty
pleasure of smiling broadly – pun intended – over  Assad’s
pseudo-innocent/ sexy delivery of “In My Little White Top”…Ed.]

Tracks: In My Little White Top; Nao Adianta; One; Voce Nao Entendeu
Nada; Viola Meu Bem; O Verde e Maravilha; Feminina; Bachelorette; Seu
Delegado; Estrangeiro Em Mim; Bom dia Tristeza; The Being Between;
Valse d’Amelie; Asa Branca.

— Tom Gibbs  

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