Sophia Rei Koutsovitis – Sube Azul – World Village

by | Aug 19, 2010 | Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews | 0 comments

Sophia Rei Koutsovitis – Sube Azul – World Village WV 498035, 55:03 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****:

(Sophia – vocals, caja vidalera & claps; Samuel Torres – kalimba, congas, capachos, caxixis, percussion effects, backup vocals, shakers & maracas; Yayo Serka – drums, claps, udu, bombo & cajon;  Jorge Roeder – double basses, electric bass, acoustic bass, backup vocals & claps; Juancho Herrera – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, cuatro venezolano, claps and backup vocals; Dana Leong – cello, trombone & backup vocals)

I wish I was fluent in Spanish and could understand what Sophia Rei Koutsovitis was singing to me on her latest album Sube Azul.  The Argentine jazz vocalist has proven that she can mix pop and jazz with authentic folk music styling from her homeland.  One of the most sought after performers in NYC,  Koutsovitis following is as true to her as she is to the music.  An elitist fan base, if that’s what one can call it, follows Sophia all over the world to see her perform.   She’s played famous halls in NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Montreal, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Peru, Germany, Italy and her home country Argentina to name a few.

Mixing traditional jazz instruments with an array of Latin pieces give the 12 tracks on Sube Azul a folk jazz flavor that grabs the attention of the listener.  Even if one doesn’t understand the words Koutsovitis’ voice and singing techniques are inviting and friendly. My favorite track on the album is La chongoyapana.  The song starts slow, with vocal and bass, slowly taking the tempo faster, mixing in the cajon with a little New Orleans Jazz and claps.  Other stand out tracks are Coplera, Sube Azul, El lio and Entre paredes.  If the typical Latin jazz is what you are after, Sube Azul is not the album for you.  If you are open for a folksy mix of poppy jazz with a South American feel,  Sube Azul is the perfect album. 

The supporting multicultural members of the band have amazing talent as well.  Jorge Roeder, who helped produce the album, plays in no less than five bands and has won international awards for his abilities on the  bass.  Samuel Torres released two of his own albums while touring the world and working with Sophia.  Yayo Serka has been playing percussion in folk groups the majority of his life, traveling the world over as well.  Dana Leong needs no introduction here.  A pioneering electro-jazz cellist and composer touring the world with his band Milk & Jade.  Juancho Herrera, another multitalented songwriter, producer and guitar virtuoso lends his skills and completes the core group of musicians on Sube Azul.


1. Coplera
2. Sube Azul
3. Cardo o ceniza
4. Instante de vos
5. El lio
6. Las cascaras
7. El mayoral
8. Segundo final
9. La chongoyapana
10. Imaginaria
11. Jardines de asfalto
12. Entre paredes

— Paul Pelon IV

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