Throughout her ten-year career, Brazilian chanteuse Sabrina Malheiros has rightly been compared to Joyce Moreno and Astrid Gilberto. As enjoyable as offerings like 2005's Equilibria and 2011's Dreaming were, though, her "nu-bossa" sound could be just a bit too laid-back. The aptly titled Clareia (meaning to clear, brighten or illuminate) sees Malheiros finding her groove with more soulful, funkier material that nods to Brazilian disco and boogie.
Opener "Celebrar" sets an uplifting mood right away with its breezy bounce and a sublime arrangement. Joined by her father Alex (bassist of Azymuth) and with producer Dokta Venom behind the boards, "Sol, Ceu E Mar" and "Renascera" are infectious dance floor groovers with polished production that highlights Malheiros's creamy vocals, captured more clearly here than on her previous albums.
Slower and equally tasteful cuts like the samba of "Sandore" and "Vam'bora" chill things but with enough mid-range and vocal finesse to avoid any smooth jazz clichés. Clareia is a mid-summer treat with enough heat to illuminate some autumn nights, too. (Far Out)