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dee bell

Silva * Bell * Elation

Dee Bell & Marcos Silva

Laser Records 2013

Review by David Bowling

So what does a laid-back American, jazz/swing female singer have in common with a Brazilian jazz composer and arranger who is also an instructor at Berkeley’s jazz school? The answer is nothing and everything. Dee Bell and Marcos Silver bring their unique skills to their new album Silva * Bell * Elation and make it work.

Bell’s career extends back to the 1980s when she released two well-received jazz vocal albums. She even enticed jazz legend Stan Getz to play on her debut. Times became difficult and her 1990 album Sagacious Grace was never released. She retreated from the music scene as she became a mother and worked as a music teacher.

The lights went back on for her career during November of 2011 when she sang a song acapella at a benefit concert. Marcos Silver was in the audience and a musical relationship was born. The first order of business was to finally release Sagacious Grace. The second was to record an album together.

Silver * Bell * Elation is the meeting of two cultures through music. Bell’s beautiful and subtle voice floats above Silva’s Brazilian rhythms.

The material covers a number of formats but all are infused with South American rhythms. The best example of a song’s transformation is Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” which replaces the guitar part with four saxophones. It emerges as a train roaring through a tunnel, which provides the foundation for Bell’s voice.

“Beijo Partido/Broken Kiss” is a composition by Brazilian guitarist Toninho Horta. Bell gives an emotional and uplifting English interpretation. Marcos Valle’s “The Face I Love” is changed from a waltz into a samba. The most adventurous track is “Midnight Mood” with beautiful piano work by Silva. Bell does not sing the lyrics but rather hums the message.

Dee Bell’s career has been resurrected. Silva * Bell * Elation is a musical journey into a fusion sound that treads the delicate line between two distinct forms of jazz music.

Rating: ***

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