Kat Parra’s latest album Azucar de Amor is a culmination of ethnic influences with crimps of jazz standards. Produced by Parra’s trombonist Wayne Wallace, the album features a fleet of international musicians like trumpeter Ray Vega on the salsa rattles of "A Night In Tunisia" and "Quitate La Queta," and pianist Jovino Santos Neto on the bolero teaser "Misty." Flares of authentic Cuban-jazz, Brazilian-jazz, Middle Eastern-jazz, Spanish-jazz, and Sephardic-jazz are all check marked on Azucar de Amor with ear-fulls of Parra’s ravishing vocal registers. Released on Wayne Wallace’s Patois Records label, a few of the tracks are re-interpretations of others works like the Stanley Turrentine’s number "Sugar (Azucar de Amor)" treated with mambo rims, and Dizzy Gillespie/Frank Paparelli’s jazz standard "A Night In Tunisia" garbed with salsa togas and graphic Middle Eastern beats. Azucar de Amor is a series of dance tracks with Latin zest and phials of torchlight jazz ethers that pipe of world music thermotics.
Spicy percussions accentuate tracks like the mambo-driven "Sugar (Azucar de Amore)," the salsa-dipped keys of "Quitate La Queta," and the charanga-clasped tempo of "Pedacito De Mi Vida" trussed in rich Cuban-jazz motifs. There is a strong sense that the music is authentic made from the instruments of these Latin-braised cultures like the coro, shakuhachi, and timbales. The flamenco flavors of the Afro-Peruvian lando number "Un Grito" have a lovely carriage and Damascus prints, and the gentle swishing of the violin, flute and piano notes of the Sephardic-jazz broth "Por La Tu Puerto" resound with a prayer-like reverence. The track really brings out Parra’s attachment to the Spanish-Jewish heritage.
The songs are tres chic allowing world audiences to enjoy foreign music’s vast wealth of instruments. The clicking stiletto beats of the danzon/cha-cha-cha flamed "Cancion Con Todos" are swirled with soft violin silhouettes, and the torchlight embers of the teasing bolero track "Misty" are proofed with comely tones. The gentle flights of "A Night In Tunisia" and "Esta Montanya D’Enfrente" transpire folklore into a prayer-like hymn. The bass bumps of the latter track induce a funeral-like aura with delicate flutes chiming in casually. The final number, a feisty samba suite "Feed My Desire," has a fun upbeat throttle with lounging vocals and finely twilled percussive shimmies.The rhythms crackle and shine giving the listener an authentic picture of the music of Latin cultures ethnicity. Parra’s vocals are astonishing beautiful able to turn peoples heads in her direction instantly. Many of the compositions are original works made by Parra and her producer Wayne Wallace. The album is like living in Latin Jazz’s casa and enjoying its multi-textures and exotic flavors with world music streaks.