Clara Moreno Miss Balanco

There are countless less pleasurable listens than Miss Balanco. Clara Moreno's pedigree must be daunting. She's the daughter of Brazilian music icons Joyce (who produced) and Nelson Moreno. That said, Clara is an original in her own right. Her alluring voice owns this collection of Samba classics. From the rousing opener, "Deixa a Nega Gingar," to the conclusion of "Samba de Negro," Miss Balanco is tailor made for the dance floor, but that doesn't mean it doesn't beguile on other levels as well. The rhythm section (featuring Visions of Dawn alumni John Donato and Orlando) is polished and assured throughout, so what one may miss out on is the slower, darker, almost melancholic exotica of "Uala Ualala," a moody counterpoint to the set's jovial atmosphere that features Moreno's most accomplished vocals. Like ice cream on a hot day, Miss Balanco is a nice summertime treat. (Far Out)