Claudia Acuña Wind from the south (2000)

Claudia Acuňa Wind from the south
Location: Santiago de Chile ~ Concepción Province, Biobío Region ~ New York City
Album release: April 11, 2000
Recording date: November 17-November 20, 1999
Record Label: Verve
Runtime:    56:24
01. Pure Imagination (4:13)
02. Viento del Sur (Wind From the South) (3:26)
03. My Man's Gone Now (6:30)
04. Prelude to a Kiss (3:31)
05. Gracias a la Vida (Thanks for Life) (4:56)
06. What'll I Do? (4:04)
07. Long as You're Living (4:59)
08. Bewitched, Brothered and Bewildered (6:32)
09. Alfonsina Y El Mar / Alfonsinaand the Sea (3:26)
10. I'll Find You (5:16)
11. The Thrill Is Gone (3:04)
12. Visions (6:26)
Claudia Acuña Vocal
Avi Leibovich Trombone
Diego Urcola Trumpet
David Sanchez Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Jason Lindner Piano, Keyboards
Harry Whitaker Piano
Avishai Cohen Bass, Keyboards
Jeff Ballard Drums

Claudia Acuña Arranger, Liner Notes, Producer, Translation, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Jeff Ballard Arranger, Cajon, Drums, Percussion
Avishai Cohen Arranger, Bass, Bass (Acoustic), Bass (Electric), Piano (Electric), Producer

Lourdes Delgado Photography
Joe Ferla Engineer, Mixing
George Gershwin Composer
Ira Gershwin Composer
DuBose Heyward Composer
Hollis King Art Direction
Jason Lindner Arranger, Piano
Violeta Parra Composer
Bill Phelps Photography
Anthony Ruotolo Assistant Engineer
David Sanchez Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor)
Richard Seidel Producer
Diego Urcola Trumpet
Harry Whitaker Arranger, PianoMySpace:!
Claudia Acuña is a Chilean vocalist. Born in Santiago and raised in Concepcion, she was inspired as a child to perform a variety of music, including folk, pop and opera, by Victor Jara and Violetta Parra. Her attention turned to American popular music and jazz at the age of 15, when she first heard Frank Sinatra, Erroll Garner and Sarah Vaughan. Returning to Santiago in 1991, she quickly gained prominence on the local jazz scene through live performances and radio broadcasts with visiting artists.
In 1995, Acuña moved to New York City and began performing at jam sessions and clubs including the Zinc Bar and Smalls. She also performed with her own band at the famous Jazz Gallery. Among the many musical associates she met in this period was pianist/composer Jason Lindner, who became and has remained her musical director. Her debut album, Wind from the South, was released in 1999, followed by Rhythm of Life in 2001 and Luna in 2004. Acuña’s first recording on the Marsalis Music label, En Este Momento, is scheduled for release in 2009. She has also been featured on record with Peck Almond, George Benson, Joey Calderazzo, Avishai Cohen, Mark Elf, Tom Harrell, Antonio Hart, Arturo O'Farrill and Guillermo Klein.
Acuña has been named co-curator of a Chilean music festival scheduled to take place in January 2009. She is also the spokesperson for World Vision Chile, an international Christian relief and development organization that specializes in child-focused development programs.
One of Acuña's covers of the Antonio Carlos Jobim song "Suddenly" was featured on the original motion picture soundtrack from Verve Records for the movie Bossa Nova. She has also recorded three solo albums, two for Verve and one for Max Jazz.
In 2001 she recorded a single with House producers MKL and Soy Sos of 3 Generations Walking called Slavery Days which brought her to a whole new audience.
Claudia is signed to the Cambridge, MA-based record label, Marsalis Music.
Review by Michael G. Nastos

For her debut recording, Acuna makes an impression that is hard to forget or dismiss. A native of Santiago, Chile, she has been living in NYC and working on her craft at the Blue Note and Small's. On this date she hooks up with peer-group younger musicians as pianist Jason Lindner, bassist Avishai Cohen, drummer Jeff Ballard, and some special guests. Acuna is clearly a gifted singer with a strong, flexible, attractive voice that can lilt or soar. Her resiliency and directness can be favorably compared to Roseanna Vitro, and she proves to be quite an arranger in her own right, charting this set of standards and Hispanic lyric songs. Acuna likes odd meters, using 6/8 on the dramatic "My Man's Gone Now," while adopting shades of Flora Purim (she facially resembles a young Purim) with soaring vocal overdubbing on her original, the title cut, which is supported and colored by Avi Leibovich's trombone. Saturated in percussion and Latin pulse, the horn-fired 6/8 arrangement of Cohen's design "Gracias a la Vida" has tenor saxophonist David Sanchez and trumpeter Diego Urcola swimming in this mix and trading figures during the bridge. A driving 5/4 pushes "The Thrill Is Gone" (not B.B. King's) into a free section, while that same rhythm, more patient in a shuffle style, conjures more drama during the poignant "Long as You're Living." Though in 4/4, beats of separated five and three with beautiful breezy piano chords from Lindner sets this version of "Pure Imagination" apart from any other you'll hear -- a real triumph. There's a hard-bop two-note vamp take of "Prelude to a Kiss" and a quick waltz version of "Bewitched" where Acuna stretches the lyric line. Pianist Harry Whitaker is Acuna's lone foil for the ballad "What'll I Do?" while the trio with Whitaker and Leibovich dances with the singer in wafting, wordless, childlike wonder for "I'll Find You." Cohen and Acuna go it alone in mysterious, deep, and tender moments for "Alfonsina y el Mar"; Stevie Wonder's "Visions" is replete with "Autumn Leaves" paraphrasings, sporting devices both free and modern with dramatic punctuations and stop-starts, with Sanchez on soprano sax. Not only is there promise, but potential too, which is realized; when you consider this is Acuna's maiden voyage, her lengthy travels have already borne the seasoned fruit of a more experienced singer. Recommended.  

“…the voice of an angel…” Ed Morales, NEWSDAY
“…she has mastered the essential elements of jazz with startling effectiveness.” Don Heckman, THE LA TIMES
“Claudia sings in the tradition of the great ones.  Her sound is her own.” Abbey Lincoln
“Claudia has great instincts, and is one singer who is actually a musician – one of us.” Branford Marsalis
Chilean singer, songwriter, and arranger Claudia Acuña draws upon the culture of her homeland by fusing Latin rhythms with her instinctive jazz sensibilities. Many of her songs are sung in her mother tongue, making it clear that music crosses all barriers - particularly when sung with her distinctive brand of authentic emotion.
Her most recent recording, Luna, moves beyond the jazz standards of previous releases for a more contemporary R&B/Latin feel, but it is her beautiful voice that has won her growing acclaim wherever she is heard.
- Wind from the South (Polygram, 2000)
- Rhythm of Life (Universal, 2002)
- Luna (Maxxjazz, 2004)
¶  Para su grabación de debut, Claudia Acuña tiene la impresión de que es difícil de olvidar o descartar. Un nativo de Santiago de Chile, que ha estado viviendo en Nueva York y trabajando en su oficio en el Blue Note y Small. En esta fecha se junta con grupo de pares más jóvenes músicos como el pianista Jason Lindner, el bajista Avishai Cohen, el batería Jeff Ballard, y algunos invitados especiales. Acuña es claramente un cantante dotado de una voz fuerte, flexible y atractivo que puede cadencia o elevarse. Su resistencia y directo puede ser favorable en comparación con Roseanna Vitro, y ella resulta ser todo un arreglista por derecho propio, la cartografía de este conjunto de normas y canciones líricas hispanas. Acuña le gusta metros impares, con 6 / 8 en el dramático "My Man's Gone Now", mientras que la adopción de tonos de Flora Purim (vestibular que se asemeja a una joven de Purim), con mezcla de sonido vocal en su alza inicial, el corte del título, que se apoya y color por Avi Leibovich de trombón. Saturados en la percusión y el ritmo latino, el cuerno-disparó 6 / 8 disposición de diseño de Cohen "Gracias a la Vida" tiene el saxofonista tenor David Sánchez y el trompetista Diego Urcola natación en esta mezcla y las cifras de comercio durante el puente. Una conducción 5 / 4 empuja "The Thrill Is Gone" (no de BB King) en una sección libre, mientras que el mismo ritmo, más paciente en un estilo shuffle, evoca más de drama en la conmovedora "Long As You're Living". Aunque en 4 / 4, ritmos de cinco y tres separadas con bellos acordes del piano brisa de Lindner establece esta versión de "Pure Imagination" aparte de cualquier otra que usted oiga - un verdadero triunfo. Hay un hard-bop dos vamp tomar nota de "Prelude to a Kiss" y una versión de vals rápido de "Bewitched" donde Acuña se extiende la línea de la lírica. Pianista Harry Whitaker es papel de único Acuña para la balada "¿Qué voy a hacer?" mientras que el trío con Whitaker y danzas Leibovich con el cantante en flotando, sin palabras, para asombro infantil "I'll find you." Cohen y Acuña en solitario en el misterioso, profundo, y momentos de ternura de "Alfonsina y el mar", "Stevie Wonder" Visiones "está llena de" Autumn Leaves "paraphrasings, deportivas dispositivos libre y moderna, con puntuaciones dramático y dejar de aperturas, con Sánchez en el saxo soprano. No sólo hay promesas, pero el potencial también, que se realiza, si se considera este viaje inaugural es Acuña, de sus viajes largos ya han dado los frutos sazonados de un cantante con más experiencia. Recomendado. ~ Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide
¶  Chilean singer/songwriter/arranger CLAUDIA ACUÑA possesses one of the most beautiful and compelling voices in jazz and creative music.  While singing primarily in Spanish, her music crosses language barriers to communicate with power and deep feeling.
¶  Acuña was born in Santiago, Chile on July 31, 1971.  When she was quite young, her family moved first to the mining town of Rancagua and then to Concepcion, the site of a rich arts community.
¶  A guitar was always around the house, as is the case in most South American homes, but her parents provided limited exposure to music and little encouragement when their daughter expressed an interest in the arts.  “They saw music as a hobby, not a career,” she says.  Yet once she heard recordings by Violeta Parra and Michael Jackson on the radio, she decided to become a singer.  “The family did not own a television, so my imagination became my own TV.  I began to fantasize about being in front of an audience, and would search the radio for things that moved me – from Parra and Michael Jackson to Earth, Wind and Fire to Mozart to movie musicals.  When I finally heard people like Erroll Garner and Thelonious Monk, I was drawn to the music’s freedom without knowing that what they played was called jazz.”
Teachers and friends who heard Acuña performing in school choirs and folk groups provided early encouragement, and helped her to find performing opportunities that would not antagonize her parents.  “I was the only member of a college choir who did not attend the college, for instance, and my parents approved of that because it was at a college.  When I became older, and chances to perform with rock or jazz groups arose, I’d start lying about going to a friend’s house.  I would also sneak into the conservatory on the way home from high school and try to memorize the lessons.  I would sing anything, and after people heard me sitting in and began to hire me, the money I made became the excuse to get work. “
¶  In 1991, Acuña moved to Santiago, where she quickly became active recording jingles and doing voices for cartoons.  Her own musical concepts also began to develop, nurtured by an older professional couple she met who told her that she was really a jazz singer.  Listening to the vast record collection of these new friends and singing at their house in weekly sessions with older musicians left her inspired but frustrated, as she did not know people her age who shared her passion.  After seeing a film about the musicians and clubs in New York, and meeting touring musicians who visited Chile and provided encouragement, she found the necessary confidence to visit the United States.  “I was insecure, because I had not attended music school and did not speak English at the time; but I had enough confidence, plus a little bit of craziness, to follow my passion.  One day in 1995, I just said, `that’s it, I’m going to New York.’”
¶  While Acuña had planned to study at one of the area’s jazz schools, she soon realized that tuition costs were prohibitive.  But she received encouragement when a teacher at one audition told her that she did not really need school, and that she could learn “the old fashion way” at the city’s jam sessions and clubs.  Following this advice, Acuña began to meet other young musicians and receive calls for gigs, many of which required that she function like another instrument in the ensemble.  “I felt more at home in New York than I ever felt in Chile,” she explains, “even though I didn’t speak the language well and was running out of money. “  A series of part-time jobs led to work on the staff at the Blue Note nightclub, where she heard many legendary artists who strengthened her determination to find an original voice.  “I had heard Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra in Chile, and felt that if he could embrace Latin music, then I could bring my own background to jazz.”
¶  It was at the original Small’s in Greenwich Village, a hotbed of young talent, that Acuña made the greatest strides, meeting and working with such artists as Jeff Ballard, Avishai Cohen, Frank Hewitt, Guillermo Klein, Jimmie Lovelace, Brad Mehldau, Harry Whittaker and the man who became her musical director and closest collaborator, pianist Jason Lindner.  She was given a key to the club, which allowed her to rehearse on what became a daily basis.  After initiating an early gig at the Zinc Bar, offers from other Manhattan clubs and restaurants followed.  ¶  “Everyone was driven to explore, and was so supportive,” she recalls.  “It was like a little music gang.  I knew then that I had made the right decision, and had arrived at the right place.  I wasn’t in school, but every note I heard was a lesson.”
¶  Record companies began to show interest in Acuña after a tape of one of her live performances began to circulate without her knowledge.  She was signed to Verve Records in 1999, where she recorded two albums, Wind from the South and Rhythm of Life.  A third disc, Luna, was recorded for MAXJAZZ in 2004, and her debut on the Marsalis Music label, En Este Momento, will be released in April 2009.  Acuña has also recorded and toured with a host of performers including George Benson, Joey Calderazzo, Billy Childs, Roy Hargrove, Tom Harrell, Christian McBride, Danilo Perez and Pablo Ziegler.  Over time, she has performed more of her material in her native language.  “I always promised myself that I would honor my background,” she says, “and I’ve gone from the point where there were always one or two songs in Spanish to where there are always one or two in English.  But I don’t want to lock myself into a formula because my growth has been organic, like a seed that produces more leaves, branches and flowers with each year.”
¶  Acuña’s appointment as spokesperson for the child-focused relief agency World Vision Chile underscores her commitments beyond music.  “I heard about World Vision almost by accident, and grew more involved as I saw that the organization works,” she says.  “I’m interested in everything that involves sustaining mother earth, and children are a priority.  Any organization that does not just label children `delinquent,’ but serves their needs, I’ll be involved.” 

My new CD on Marsalis Music, release April 7 2009 in My Photos by Claudia AcuñaBenefit concert for Chile, at LPR...NYC    Claudia Acuña

Benefit concert for Chile at LPR, New York CityClaudia AcuñaJazz Festival of LAPATALLA..URUGUAY, picture take by DIAZ DURAN    Claudia AcuñaJazz Festival of LAPATALLA..URUGUAY, picture take by DIAZ DURANFile:Coat of arms of Concepcion, Chile.svg

Claudia Acuña ≡ Wind from the south (2000)