A sultry night in Rio, a sunny day in Brazil. Contemporary jazz, Brazilian jazz, smooth airy vocals. New interpretations of classics from Sergio Mendes to Pat Metheny and Cole Porter. Harmonically rich, but always grooving.
Perspective is everything. While presently some see the world as a chaotic mess, others glimpse wonder and beauty in abundance and the infinite possibilities created when rooted in love. As demonstrated on her debut jazz-adult pop album, Pretty World, vocalist Anne Walsh falls into the latter category. The gorgeous collection of idyllic songs thematically chronicle the complexities of love spanning happiness, yearning, suffering and hope. Walsh’s husband, Thomas Zink, produced and arranged the dozen tracks that consist of buoyant Brazilian jazz grooves and poignant heart-tugging ballads.
While Pretty World is comprised of standards (Cole Porter, Rogers & Hammerstein), Brazilian jazz (Sergio Mendes, Antonio Carlos Jobim) and adult pop (Suzanne Vega, Kevyn Lettau) cuts, compositions by Pat Metheny (“So May It Secretly Begin”), Keith Jarrett (“My Song”) and Don Grolnick (“Pools”) were given original lyrics penned for Walsh by Joe Derenzo. Zink, who played piano, keyboards and synths, fostered a live sound during the recording process by utilizing live musicians and granting the gifted players the freedom and ample space to improvise and spontaneously interact while never obstructing the spotlight brightly focused upon Walsh’s angelic vocals. The exquisite production leans organically acoustic and is graced with warm embraces from a lush string section that added a range of emotion. Impressive is the fact that Zink successfully managed to orchestrate intricately produced tracks that sound sparse and airy. To add authenticity, contributing their talents to the record was an accomplished bunch that has played with Sergio Mendes including noted guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves (Jobim), bassists Carlitos Del Puerto and Jerry Watts, percussionist Tiki Pasillas, and saxophonist-flautist Gary Meek in addition to multidimensional bassist Brian Bromberg.
“Much of the music on Pretty World was written in the 1970’s when there was an exciting fusion of so many great musical forces. There’s something brave about these songs and I wanted to be a part of the music from that era. There was a real musical freedom to explore, and we set out to capture some of the crazy diversity that resulted,” explained Walsh. “I’m drawn to songs that feel good, groove, communicate a truth, express an emotion or tell a story. As a performer of songs written by others, Tom & I felt that we owed it to the music to add something unique. We wanted that to come through on both the vocals and the arrangements. I hope the album paints a picture of beauty, love, joy, pain, heartbreak, blessings and the mystery of relationships while celebrating and honoring the composers of some of my favorite music.”