New Reviews: August 24, 2001

Velho Fado
Jorge Fernando
Times Square Records

Hailing from Lisbon, Jorge Fernando is one of the most talented fado singers/composers in Portugal. A fado is a plaintive Portugese song or melody in the form of a ballad. Velho Fado (Old Ballad) features Jorge on lead vocals and guitar, with cellos, piano, accordion, violin, percussion and Classical and Portugese guitar accompaniment. Guest vocalists Amalia Rodrigues and Christina Branco lend their beautiful vocals on a few songs. Interestingly, Jorge's small ensemble produces a surprisingly full musical sound. The combination of pleasant vocals and splendid instrument playing will certainly capture the attention of listeners interested in Flamenco, Spanish and Portugese music.

Best Vol. 2
Shimita El Diego
Cassava Records

Shimita El Diego is the stage name for the contemporary singer/dancer and entertainer, Lukombo Nzambe. Lukombo blends African jazz/pop music with Congolese soukous. Originating from Central Africa, soukous music uses repetitive beats and melodies that are remarkably similar to Caribbean rhythms. For the most part, Lukombo sings throughout the album. However, other harmonic vocals by men and women accompany Lukombo's lively lead vocals. Fans of popular Central African music will be pleased with Shimita El Diego's latest release.

Sketches Of James - Selections From The James Taylor Songbook
Koch Jazz

Producer Tim Weston organized a jazz album dedicated to the music of singer/songwriter James Taylor. Sketches of James includes jazz renditions of James Taylor's most popular songs performed by Les McCann, Tower Of Power, Gerald Albright, Mitchel Forman Trio, Shirley Horn and Poncho Sanchez' Latin Jazz Band. The jazz music is mixed with latin and blues elements. Bluesy male vocals and beautiful female vocals express the music of James Taylor in a new and creative direction. Fans of jazz, and James Taylor's music, should definitely look into the Selections From The James Taylor Songbook.

Reviews by Matthew J Forss.