With the third and final release of singer-songwriter Carla Hassett’s trio of bossa nova tracks, comes the poetic and elegant “Three Kings.” The unapologetic bossa groove, freshly interpreted in 7/8 meter, is the only track of the three that’s sung in English. Though a secular song, the poetry tips a hat to the mysticism of love and its devout complexities. Hassett says that “while daydreaming one day, this line from Romeo and Juliet popped into my head: 'Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love and I'll no longer be a Capulet.’ When I thought about my Romeo, well, two actually came to mind from my past, along with the current Romeo at that time. Turns out, my Romeo was actually three kings!” Intending to create a highly poetic lyric, Hassett gave each “king” his own verse, whose rhyme scheme coincides with their names. The chorus is borrowed from Shakespere, and verse four explains the song in the soliloquy style of the Bard, then wraps up the story with an unexpectedly charming end.
BURL Audio’s invitation for Carla to record the 1961 bossa nova tune, “Adriana” (by Roberto Menescal) at the iconic EastWest Studios in Los Angeles, resulted in two additional recordings, Hassett’s own “Sempre Odara,” and “Three Kings.” Carla brought in bassist Andre de Santanna, and drummer Léo Costa from Sergio Mendes’s band, and Dan Reckard, from Bossa Zuzu, on piano to record in the room Frank Sinatra once sang in. Carla handled the vocals and guitar, and completed the production and mixing of “Sempre Odara” and “Three Kings” in her LA studio. The Burlacticus Recording Company (Burl Audio’s label) released “Adriana” on vinyl in 2019, and is expected to release a live concert film in early 2020 that features Carla’s performance at the Rio Theatre for the Performing Arts in Santa Cruz, California.
There’s no mystery to the source of Hassett’s musical identity. The São Paulo-born singer-songwriter grew up in a Brazilian community in Chicago, studying piano and guitar from an early age, and writing and recording her own tunes on her father’s reel-to-reel before she hit her teens. Besides absorbing the Brazilian music her parents and extended family enjoyed listening to at home, Hassett soaked up rock, blues, funk and all of the other sounds popular in the Windy City. It wasn’t long before she turned pro, playing and singing with Chicago bands and lending her voice to jingles for national advertising campaigns.
Hassett moved to Los Angeles and built a career singing backup on tour and in the recording studio with the likes of Billy Idol, Sergio Mendes, Gino Vannelli, actor/musician Gary Sinise, Grammy award-winning soul legend Solomon Burke, Flora Purim and Airto Moreira, Mike Patton, Natalie Cole, and a bevy of Latin music superstars, like Caetano Veloso. Hassett also lent her voice to the movie soundtracks of Rio, Rio 2, Netflix’s Like Father, and Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle.
On her previous album, +Blue, Carla explored the meaning of “home” and the complexities of growing up between two countries and cultures, stylistically expressed through tropicalia and samba. With the trio of singles, “Adriana,” “Sempre Odara,” and “Three Kings,” Carla embraces the understated power and beauty of her home’s most celebrated music–bossa nova.
Carla graduated Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music, and is on the commercial music faculty at California State University, Los Angeles. She writes, records, and produces music from her studio in Los Angeles, and cites among her influences, Caetano Veloso, Elis Regina, Jorge Ben Jor, and her “patron saint” Carmen Miranda, as well as Aretha Franklin, Freddy Mercury, and Amy Winehouse.
Release date: 1/8/2020
Genre: Bossa Nova, Jazz, Brazilian, Adult Contemporary
For fans of: Astrud Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Diana Krall, Norah Jones
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