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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

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Tania Maria
The Very Best Of
Manteca

By PAUL-ÉMILE COMEAU

Published June 5, 2006

It’s sometimes wise to be leery of a CD that proclaims to contain “the very best of” any given artist. In the case of Tania Maria—an amazing Brazilian jazz/pop singer and pianist not to be confused with Teena Marie, a white soul/funk singer from the ’80s—most of her first three albums on Concord qualify. That’s undoubtedly why half this material draws from these early-’80s releases. Nothing is included from Maria’s numerous albums from 1985 to 1999, which is just as well. Three live performances from 2002 (back on Concord) are also included. Tania Maria wrote most of the material, and reworked Sidney Bechet’s “Florzinha/Petite Fleur,” one of two tracks from a 2000 New Note album. Other non-originals include Ivan Lins’ “Começar De Novo,” Jobim’s “Triste,” and a seven-and-a-half-minute piano/scat version of the 1930s exotica standard “Granada.” At her best, Tania Maria’s effervescent brand of hybrid music is irresistible.

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