Teresa Salgueiro has been making solo albums since 2006, but 2012's O Mistério marks a new point of departure for the internationally revered Portuguese singer. All of her previous records were content to present Salgueiro in the role of sublime interpreter and/or musical anthropologist, as she explored the musical heritage of Portuguese, Brazilian, and Italian culture. O Mistério, on the other hand, is the first album of original material credited to her name, and to her notable cast of supporting musicians: Carisa Marcelino (accordion), Óscar Torres (double bass), André Filipe Santos (guitar), and Rui Lobato (drums and percussion); Lobato also co-produces, together with Salgueiro and António Pinheiro da Silva, who had worked with the singer on several Madredeus' albums.
Teresa Bright is a Hawaiian singer who regularly records traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music. She studied jazz vocals when she was younger, and occasionally used it on a few of her recordings. This CD, on her own label, allowed her to sing in a manner that is different from her more well known work. The closest person I could compare her to would be Lani Hall (Sergio Mendes & Brazil '66, and wife of Herb Alpert).
If Wilson Pickett could cover the Archies and Al Green could interpret the Bee Gees, why shouldn't Charles Bradley put his spin on Black Sabbath? Bradley's deep, soulful reading of Black Sabbath's "Changes" (from 1972's Vol. 4) became something of a viral sensation when it first surfaced on a Record Store Day single in 2013. Now it's become the title track and cornerstone of Bradley's third album, and in this context it doesn't sound like a novelty, but like the striking, deeply felt performance it truly is. As on his two previous albums, Bradley is one of the most authentic-sounding artists in the 2010s retro-soul sweepstakes on Changes. The production by Thomas Brenneck is straightforward but naturalistically effective, and puts Bradley's rough but passionate vocals in engaging relief with the accompanists. (Most of the album features the Menahan Street Band backing Bradley, though the Budos Band does the honors on two cuts.) Most of the songs on Changes are new, but they sound like they could have been prize Atlantic or Stax rarities from the mid-'60s, and the performances honor the sound and the emotional power of classic soul.
For much of the last two decades of his life, Chet Baker seemed to go in the studios so often that one never knew what to expect. The results were a crapshoot, depending on whether or not Baker was suffering the effects of his drug addiction at the time. Fortunately, his friendship with Chicago-based pianist Bradley Young in the early 1980s gave the younger man an opportunity to sit in with the trumpeter. As a result, Young impulsively suggested a record date during a return engagement in 1986, which Baker accepted, though everything had to come together quickly within two days, including finding a studio and assembling a band. Oddly enough, everything works, from the fine rhythm section…