Rather than cover just a song as others might do, Clara Moreno has covered the entire album that launched Jorge Ben from Brazil into orbit in 1963. Given that “Samba Esquema Nova” is now regarded by many as a classic album, it is an interesting approach for Ms. Moreno to take but is it a worthwhile one?
Of course, the new style isn’t new anymore and Clara Moreno, wisely, avoids trying to recreate the bossa nova fuelled youthful playfulness that was so evident in the original album. Times have moved on, after all, but, perhaps in the reverence to the past, she has made no drastic tempo changes either. This album is therefore less a celebration of the Jorge Ben and his influences on the genre than a considered reflection on how things change yet remain the same and that is, when you think about it, actually a smart move to make on the chess board of today’s music business.
It helps that Clara Moreno is a singer with the maturity to give life to any song and, backed with precision performers, she holds her musical course here with the practised ease of a supper club songstress. Needless to say, even when duelling with a luminary like Wilson Simoninha on “Vem Morena, Vem”, she always comes out on top.
Whilst the cynical may regard “Samba Esquema Nova (De Novo)” as just another smooth jazz album, Clara Moreno has made a perfectly valid artistic choice and I suspect it is one that her many fans will respect.