by Rick Washbrook
Review: November 24, 2011
Artist: Laura Fernandez
CD Title: Un Solo Beso
Release: October 27, 2010
Rating: Five Stars
Laura Fernandez was born in Madrid, Spain. Her father was an eclectic music lover. Young Laura would sit on his lap while he’d spin records for her from world musicians. Exposed to a cultural diversity of art and music from an early age, her love of music influenced her career path. She learned to live life with a passion. Today this Toronto based, singer-songwriter-
Un Solo Beso is Fernandez’s second CD release. The project gives a listener music from exotic yet familiar cultures, beautiful lyrics and memorable melodies. Her heartfelt songs are dressed in the vibrant colors of jazz-influenced Cuban, Samba, Bolero, Bossa Nova and a mixture of other Spanish influences, as well as a dash of folk. Soulful and spicy arrangements are brought to life by some hot Latin and Cuban backup musicians and laid out for the discerning listener an mixed and mastered delightful sonic quality.
Un Solo Beso features many of Toronto's celebrated Latin Jazz musicians and arrangers including Hilario Duran, Elmer Ferrer, Alberto Alberto, Luis Mario Ochoa, and Roberto Linares Brown. Fernandez was able to express her immense joy in creating and producing her CD with musicians who speak her native language and musical language. It’s clear that they injected a large dose of unconditional love and dedication into every song.
For Laura Fernandez, music is a voyage of self-discovery. “We wanted to give every song its own personality. I don’t stick to convention in my life, so why should I in music?”
She has created a delightfully paced collection of mostly original songs. Take a journey into the heart and soul of an artist who feels, explores and reveals life’s experiences with grace and sensitivity, especially where “amor” is concerned.
The disk starts off with two sassy, seductive songs—“Mi Amor” and “Un Solo Beso.” These two tracks sway to their own Latin beats, touched with enough rhythmic variation to keep you on your toes. Fernandez’s raw lyrics, melodies, and smooth chord progressions swirl in a rich potage of childhood memories. The trumpet soars then mellows in “Un Solo Beso”. Songs such as “La Barca” and “A Mi Padre” are simple and spare, underscoring the intimacy of the message. “Que Linda Es La Noche” strongly suggests slow dancing in the moonlight. Glass of wine required.
Laura Fernandez’s voice mesmerizes because it flows naturally without forcing intensity. This album’s nuanced arrangements and finely balanced production highlight her warm vocals. Her instrumentalists all play a vibrant supporting role.
Un Solo Beso makes Latin Jazz accessible. Most tracks will likely find their niche as FM Adult Contemporary Latin crossover hits. This ingenious effort from JUNO-award-winning producer Billy Bryans will appeal to different audiences, from Latin Jazz aficionados to new listeners who appreciate high-quality, dynamic songwriting.
Laura Fernandez also produces and hosts a popular Latin Jazz radio show in Toronto, Canada.
Written, arranged and vocals by Laura Fernandez
Produced by Billy Bryans
Project Engineer: Taras Petryk
Bass: Paco Luviano
Keyboards: Hilario Duran
Drums: Fran Durand
Trumpet: Alexis Baro
Alto Sax: Luis Deniz
Guitars: Noah Zacharin (1,4), Elmer Ferrer (1,3,4,6,7,8,9)
Keyboards: Glenda Del Monte Escalante (1,4,7), Hilario Duran (1,2,5,6,10)
Drums: Paul DeLong (1), Rosendo "Chendy" Leon Jr (5,9), Frank Durand (2,6), Shamakah Ali (7) Percussion: Rosendo "Chendy" Leon Jr, (9), Joaquin Hidalgo (1,5,6) Jalidan Ruiz (1,5), Jorge Luis "Papiosco" Torres (3,8)
Chorus vocals: Alberto Alberto (3,9), Kevin Stock (9), Michelle Mayer (9), Veronica Mesa (3), Raquel Olmes (3)
Track Listing: Mi Amor, Un Solo Beso, Junto a Ti, A Mi Padre, Que Mas Quieres de Mi, Inolvidable, I Believe in One Love, Que Linda es La Noche, Red Red Bird, La Barca
Un Solo Beso can be purchased through CD baby.com, and iTunes. Listen to some tracks on youtube.com
Artist website: laurafernandezmusic.com
Review by Rick Washbrook