Mônica Salmaso
Blue Jackel (www.bluejackel.com)

São Paulo native Mônica Salmaso's first solo effort reveals an emergent and distinctive voice in Brazilian popular music. For some, her singing may recall the colorings of Gal Costa, Astrud Gilberto or Elis Regina, but Salmaso's bright soprano articulation shows a peerless, dead-on tonality, calibrated to a laid-back, jazz-tinged repertoire and a supporting corps of musicians including bassist and musical director Rodolfo Stroeter and percussionist Naná Vasconcelos. For some, this low-keyed offering may skirt the borders of easy listening, but Salmaso opens new MPB territory that the genre's international fans will want to explore. - Michael Stone

Buy it at cdroots.com

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