Kat Parra makes a strong case that she is one of the freshest, new voices in Latin jazz by following up her critically acclaimed debut album with an outstanding sophomore release. Azucar De Amor delivers a mix of original tunes, Latin favorites, and jazz standards. It is an energetic and diverse collection.
The CD begins with "Sugar (Azuca De Amor)," a reinterpretation of the Stanley Turrentine favorite. There’s much to like about this swinging number, starting with the infectious percussions and Parra’s fluid vocals. She has added her own Spanish lyrics. She also tackles Dizzy Gillespie’s classic "A Night in Tunisia." It starts off with a Middle Eastern sound before switching to a swinging salsa section. Another jazz favorite making the disc is Errol Garner’s "Misty," which gets a more straight-ahead treatment and features a nice trombone solo by Wayne Wallace.
Parra slows down the pace on the Sephardic ballad "Esta Montanya D’Enfrente." Again, she brings in different sounds to create just the right atmosphere. This time it is the shakuhachi, a traditional flute from Japan, that gives the song its mystic feel. Parra, who sings fluently in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, shares writing credits with Wallace on three diverse songs. The original numbers are the Afro-Peruvian "Un Grito," the exhilarating salsa "Quitate La Queta," and "Feed My Desire," a samba that closes the 10-song disc. The blending of different styles, instruments, and languages is expertly done.