Rosa Passos & Ron Carter – Entre Amigos

Rosa Passos & Ron CarterRosa Passos & Ron Carter
Entre Amigos
(Chesky – 2003)
by S.H. Watkins, Sr.

Rosa Passos has been called one of the “finest female voices in Bossa Nova”. The reputation is well deserved as you’ll soon see. On Bahia Com H her sexy innocence is immediately felt. Insensatez, one of seven Jobim covers, features some wonderful solos from master bassist Ron Carter between sweet passages from Passos. Billy Drewes jumps out with a nice sax solo at the beginning of Desafinado, leading into another simplistic yet beautiful Jobim rendering by Passos. Sorriu Para Mim hits with just Paulo Braga percussions and Passos songbird melody, joined with a little latin guitar this one grows and sweetens as it transforms to ‘Briazilian scat’ and back.

Did I mention that all of the vocals are in Brazilian? Oh… sorry, I kinda forgot because It Doesn’t Matter. Passos voice is obviously strong but rather than forcing it on you, she uses it skillfully and carefully to weave vocal tapestries that are universally recognizable. Lest we forget, throughout Ron Carter is the cloth that binds the canvas Passos paints upon. His presence is professional and creative and consistently good from track to track. Take particular note of Por Causa de Vocë a Passos-Carter duet in which his solo bass lays a rich velvet where her expressiveness progressively sketches then paints the images in living color for you.

Billy Drewes flute pushes Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar onto the canvas, where Rosa slowly begins to paint. Silky and breathy, her delivery here is a thing of beauty only partially matched by the fine horn work from Drewes. Passos also plays a lot of the guitar on the CD, including Mangione’s Feitio de Oração where her vocalization is a bit stronger and more upbeat. The guitar solos throughout the Cd are the work of guitarist Lula. The CD winds up with O Grand Amor and some more great guitar work from Lula. A nod should go out to the production crew as well. The quality of the recording is clear and verrrrry clean, adding greatly to the experience. Not having been very aware of Rosa Passos work, this CD was a great find for me personally. If you are a fan of Bossa Nova, Jobim, great vocals, great bass playing, Brazilian music or good Jazz then this CD is for you.