Review by David Bowling
Helen Souza has a wonderful smoky and seductive voice that bridges the gap between light jazz and traditional pop. She benefits from the fact that she co-writes most of her material, which enhances her ability to sing the songs with passion. She has now released her second album titled Hotel Souza.
Much of her music has a bass foundation upon which she builds her sound. She adds guitars, percussion, strings, and a little brass at times to fill out that sound. Her voice does not so much float over the mix as it seduces the material. Songs such as “Paris,” “Night Demon,” “Delectable You,” and “I’ve Got It Bad” are the best examples of her style and talent.
My major criticism of the album is a sameness of the performances. She needs to change tempos more often. Her cover of the soul classic “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” is moved over to a light weight jazz piece even though the horns give it a little pep. The Ray Gilbert/Antonio Carlos Jobim composition “Dindi” should have been a tour de force for her but it is moved in a pop direction.
Helen Souza is an exceptional vocalist who needs to put further thought into her material in order to produce a more varied album.