|DATE||ARTIST||FESTIVAL / CLUB||CITY / DETAILS|
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. March / 15, 16, 17, 18. November 2018
New Album “Innocentia” feat. Anat Cohen
The first thing that strikes you about Maria Mendes is the purity of her tone and her graceful, lyrical phrasing. She glides over her band, adding emphasis here, lingering there, scatting in unexpected directions and occasionally soaring to a heady high when the mood takes her. Clearly, she has spent time on her craft.
Maria Mendes’ debut album and sold out performances in Europe and South-America have been drawing the attention of the jazz media worldwide. Jazz critics and jazz musicians consider her to be one of the most promising singers in the European Jazz scene. The Portuguese vocalist, awarded with significant international jazz vocal prizes is remarkable for her crystal clear voice, creative and exciting phrasing and outstanding vocal virtuosity.
More exhilarating and emotionally complex than its predecessor – think lazy summer days in the throes of childhood or the finding hope in moments of despair – Innocentia also features virtuoso clarinet player Anat Cohen from Israel. There are many high points to savour. A rendition of ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ sets the standard free from its occasionally mawkish confines as Boehlee ups the tempo and embarks on a Glasper-esque excursion. Then there’s Mendes dueling with drummer van Hulten on Hermeto’s ‘O Ovo’ before a mischievous Cohen muscles in and almost steals the show. Elsewhere Mendes demonstrates that she’s a highly capable scat singer a la Ella on ‘Água de Beber’. And let’s not forget their version of Portuguese composer Heitor Villa-Lobos’ ‘Bachianas Brasileiras Nr 5 (Cantilena)’, featuring some lovely lyrical interplay between Mendes and Cohen. The album also features imaginative readings of songs by the likes of Sting and Jimmy Woode – not your typical bedfellows. That is another hallmark of Mendes. She is open and inquisitive when it comes to her music, yet able to put her stamp on a tune, whether it is sung in English or Portuguese. ‘Fragile’ is typical of the mood of this album – wistful, rooted in innocence and vulnerability.
Innocentia is a marked progression in the career of Mendes. Under the guidance of composer and close collaborator Martin Fondse, she has obviously grown as a composer and bandleader, and not just a vocalist. But it is as a performer that she truly excels, moving the listener … stirring the soul. Press play, catch her in concert and prepare to be quietly stunned by her depth of emotion.
“I see a promising shining future for this young talented singer” — QUINCY JONES
“Sparkling debut! Mendes makes clear she has absolutely nothing to prove” — John Kelman, ALL ABOUT JAZZ (USA)
Maria Mendes (v) Portugal/Brazil
Cédric Hanriot (p) France - Grammy winner composer and pianist. Several productions/projects with Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Donny McCaslin
Jasper Somsen (db) Holland - favorite double bass player of jazz Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi
Gregory Hutchinson (d) USA – Betty Carter 4Tet + Ray Brown Trio + recorded and toured with Red Rodney, Joshua Redman, Dianne Reeves, Joe Henderson and many more
2016 “Innocentia” feat. Anat Cohen
2012 Debut CD “Along The Road”
Blue Note Jazz Club NYC, Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Sunset Sunside Paris, Off Beat Jazz Festival Basel, St. Moritz Jazz Festival, Concertgebouw, Sesc Pompéia São Paulo, Casa da Música Porto