Irene and Her Latin Jazz Band – A Song of You

Irene and Her Latin Jazz Band
A Song of You
Irene and Her Latin Jazz Band – 2009
C.W.Ross – Indie Music Stop

Simply known as Irene she’s a rising jazz artist who was already performing on stage by the age of three. Irene started formal piano lessons when she was eight years old, along with taking dance lessons (ballet, modern jazz and tap).

Her early influences included classical music, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and The Beatles as well as the Latin sounds of Sergio Mendes & his Brasil Bands and Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.

The listeners of radio station KLAC located in Los Angeles chose Irene as a “Fabulous Find”. She was also nominated for “Female Vocalist of the Year – Latin” for the 17th Annual Los Angeles Music Awards.

All of her training and hard work paid off when in October of 2003 she performed at a guest talent show at the Club Med in Tahiti and was offered a three week gig on the spot singing at the resort. Since that time she returns several times a year to that resort along with other Club Med locations to perform.

Irene & Her Latin Jazz Band’s latest release, A Song of You, is a collection of 14 songs that combine smooth jazz with a traditional Latin sound.

Besides Irene on the vocals you’ll also find talented musicians, Marco Tulio (acoustic guitar), Daniel Groisman (bass), Cristiano Novelli (percussion), Frank Zottoli (piano), Rique Pantoja (one of Brazil’s top pianists/keyboardists), and Scott Martin (flute & saxophone).

The songs found on A Song of You are a mixture of classic Latin songs (Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Triste” and “Quite Nights of Quiet Stars,” and Joao Gilberto’s “Bim Bom”); along with well know American standards (George & Ira Gershwin’s “S’Wonderful” and Cole Porter’s “It’s Too Darn Hot”). Irene also includes two pop songs (“Change The World” made famous by Eric Clapton, and Sting’s “Fragililidad”) re-arranged with a Latin Jazz vibe.

Irene also co-wrote three of the songs found on this release, two with guest saxophonist and flutist Scott Martin, and one with guest keyboardist Alex Varden. Both musicians also worked with Irene on her debut album, Summer Samba.

The multi-lingual Irene can sing in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, though most of the songs found on this release are done in English.

Irene is a one person working machine, besides being the vocalist, Irene selected all of the music, the musicians, produced the album, and did both the initial arrangements by herself and the final arrangements with the band, even doing all of the mixing for this release.

When asked about her musical style Irene said, “We call it So Cal-Brazilian music,” she continues, “because we all live in Southern California, which of course has its own Latin culture, but most of the band originally came from Brazil. ”

For the most part the songs are smooth, gentle, and flow freely like a nice summer breeze. Dealing a lot with the subject of love in the songs Irene says that, “My theory is that the world can never have too many love songs. But what would be the point if we don’t do them differently than they have been done before” So each tune is in our own style featuring a Latin jazz arrangement with a Brazilian beat, but also filtered through a Southern California lifestyle,”

While a majority of the songs have that laid back smooth jazz feel, there’s also several songs like, “South Seas Samba/Samba de Bora, Bora,” that will get your blood pumping and your feet wanting to dance along to its beats.

One of the highlights tracks “Change the World,” is where Irene puts her own spin on the well-known pop song from Eric Clapton. At first it seems a little bit odd, being so use to hearing the original version, but as the song progresses along it grew on me.

The release wraps up with, “La Foule,” a song that has transpired from a Russian folk tune to a Spanish love song, then to a big band waltz, and now Irene puts her own spin on the song.

If you like your jazz smooth with a nice heaping topping of Latin music then Irene & Her Latin Jazz Band’s, A Song of You, is the perfect album for you