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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Long-Ass Car Ride Review - Raquel Cepeda

Long-Ass Car Ride Reviews: I take long-ass car rides, I listen to albums, I let you know if they are worthwhile.

Raquel Cepeda - "I'm Confessin'" (2012) 8/10

Paul English - piano flugelhorn, trumpet; Jeffry Eckels - bass; Dean Macomber - drums; Warren Sneed - tenor/soprano saxes; Daved Cáceres - alto/tenor saxes; etc

In a word: Impressive

After 15 years as a geologist, Venezuelan born, Houston resident Raquel Cepeda throws her vocalist hat in the ring and comes out a champ with this impressive debut. The album is a good mix of familiar standards and Latin numbers with a few surprises including an exquisite original "Me Flechaste el Corazon", where Raquel displays an ease in her upper register. In general her voice is a full-bodied alto with clarity and attention to detail, spot-on pitch, control and plenty of expressive eloquence. Her gift in particular is an absorption of the lyric's meaning, relaying it effortlessly but with great impact. "Besame Mucho" is very slow, very long, and
photo by Diana Simonetta
totally worth it. The opener "East of the Sun" swings dreamily; an uptempo "What Is This Thing Called Love" burns and sports a cool unison chorus with Raquel and Warren Sneed on tenor, as well a great drum outting from Dean Macomber. Samba "Chega de Saudade" is handled with lovely grace in front of a neat horn chart, with winning solos from David Caceres on alto and producer Paul English on electric piano. Especially interesting and appealing is the gentle lilt of "Dream a Little Dream of Me" as a jazz waltz (!), with another convincing and sensual vocal. The best track comes rather late in the album; "How Deep Is The Ocean", reworked as a Bossa. Cepeda manages to tenderly reveal what an astounding proclamation of love is hidden in the comparative lyric. There are plenty more fine moments. All the superb backing (see the musician list) as well as a beautiful production (including an occasional string section) enhance an already solid performance. Take a chance on this one!

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