Brazilian jazz at Symphony
''Ladies and Gentlemen, Tania Maria!'' She goes straight to the piano to play and scat sing her way through several high-energy songs before she finally stops to greet the audience. The crown is already in the palm of her very musical hand.
Tania Maria is a unique phenomenon on the American jazz scene. Women musicians with this kind of power and command are uncommon. She's not just a singer or pianist but conducts her four-member band and composes as well.
Brazilian-born, her career was shaped in Paris. She has only recently come to the US and has won praise from musicians and audiences alike. Her performance at Symphony Hall Sunday night, the third night of the Boston Globe Jazz festival, gave an idea of the reasons behind that warm reception. She always performs with a kind of ecstatic absorption; talking to the audience, basking in the high-powered musical and emotional energy flowing around her.
Unfortunately, Symphony Hall was too big for the intimate contact that shows her off best. Here, the Brazilian congas and wind instruments as well as the multilingual scatting that make her performances so intriguing get lost in the louder electronic wash of sound of the more rock-oriented members.