The Best of Brazil
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Mediterranean by heart, Parisian by birth, New Yorker by choice, Latin by soul

February 17, 2011 – Manhattan-based French vocalist, bandleader and songwriter Pascalito (aka Pascal Sabattier) has recorded his second album, Neostalgia, set for release in March. The bilingual disc blends pop, jazz, bossa nova, flamenco, swing, blues and tango. We asked Pascalito about three of our favorite tracks from this beautiful Singer and composer Pascalito. Pascalito album, reminiscent of the soundtrack of the classic French film Un Homme et une Femme (A Man and a Woman). Here's what he said, along with a sample track.

Track 4: La Pluie sur ta Peau (Rain on your Skin) – It is an original song I co-wrote with my Swiss producer Thomas Foyer. The song was originally featured on my debut album Le Blues d'Orphee as an electro bossa lounge track and was selected to be featured in one episode of the popular cable show Damages. For my new album Neostalgia, we recorded this new acoustic samba arrangement as a duet with silken-voiced singer Jessica Medina. Keiji Yoshino's guitar is very lyrical on it and Stan Killian's sax has a string quality almost. It is like a dreamy poem that evokes sensual memories of the summers of my youth. Jazz Times critic Christopher Loudon called it 'fervently romantic.' It is definitely one of my strong songs.

Track 9: Dans Mon Ile (In my Island) – The song was composed and originally performed by the legendary French jazz singer and guitarist Henri Salvador, a cherished influence of mine. He died in February 2008 at age 91 and as a tribute to him I recorded that song and that is how my second album Pascalito at Miles' Cafe, New York City Pascalito at Miles' Cafe, New York City
Photo: Arié Ohayon
project basically started. Next week at Miles' Cafe, I will be performing more songs by him for the third anniversary of his passing. He wrote that song in 1957 before bossa nova officially existed. He heard a samba tune while travelling in Brazil, mixed it with a bolero melody he had started composing, applied some sophisticated jazz guitar chords and delivered soft creole-influenced French vocals. Antonio Carlos Jobim himself heard the song and later acknowledged he was inspired by this innovative combination while defining bossa nova. 50 years later while recording his last album, Henri Salvador recorded a new version of his song in Brazil on an arrangement by Jacques Morelenbaum. Caetano Veloso and Lisa Ono also recorded versions of that song.

Neostalgia CD cover. Neostalgia Track 12: Soleil d'Or (Sun of Gold) – This is adapted from Caetano Veloso's original song 'Luz do Sol.' I wrote French lyrics to the song and transposed it to a Mediterranean context with references to older times where Jews and Muslims lived in peace and harmony rocked by the sound of the waves of the Mediterranean sea and united by a warm soul. My mother was born in Algeria, North Africa, in a Sephardic (Spanish) Jewish community. Jazz Times critic Christopher Loudon thought the transposition had lost none of the original's 'tender luminosity.' This is the second song by Caetano Veloso I adapted and recorded in French. On my first album I recorded 'Orphee de Toi' transposed from 'Sou Você.' I am very influenced by his work and by his singing.

From Neostalgia, here's a sneak preview of La Pluie sur ta Peau (Rain on your Skin) featuring guest vocalist Jessica Medina. (If you don't see the audio player below, please update your browser. The file might take 30 seconds or more to load, depending on the speed of your internet connection and CPU.)

Photos courtesy of Pascalito