Friday, April 25, 2014

Gloria Estefan Sings The Standards

Gloria Estefan certainly is among the best known vocalists in the world today ever since her days fronting the Miami Sound Machine. Sony Masterworks issued at the end of 2013, The Standards, a celebration of the American Songbook and more as it international song classics sung in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and French, some with new lyrics written by Estefan backed by a big band or a full orchestra with arrangements from Shelley Berg.

One can’t fault her singing of such timeless songs as Good Morning Heartache or They Can’t Take That Away From Me, nor find much to criticize in the full, often lush backing, although her singing is more in the vein of a pop singer (or a torch singer). Certainly she won’t make anyone forget Billie Holiday with the opening song, no matter how good it is. It is a matter of taste and musical preference for this listener, but this one wished she was less formal in her delivery, although her rendition of I’ve Grown Accustomed To His Face is quite lovely with nice acoustic guitar and a lighter accompaniment.

Hearing her sing a less familiar song as Jobim & de Moraes’ Eu Sei Que Vou Te Amar, sung in Portuguese, has the advantage of one not being able to compare it with iconic recordings of the song. Joshua Bell provides the violin solo on the romantic The Day You Say You Love Me for which Estefan provided English lyrics. Dave Koz adds alto sax to the Gershwins' How Long Has This Been Going On, while she duets with Laura Pausini with her Spanish lyrics on Charles Chaplin’s SonrĂ®e, aka Smile.

It is refreshing to hear a recording of standards not simply copy well-known arrangements for the repertoire here and Gloria Estefan sings extremely well throughout, even if this is not to my taste. The Standards is marvelously recorded and received a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

I received my review copy from a publicist. Here she is seen performing They Can’t Take That Away From Me.

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