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ALBUM Reviews

Romantic and Sophisticated

August 18, 1996|Don Heckman

IVAN LINS

"I'm Not Alone"

Velas / TransBrasil

* * * 1/2

Soft romantic jazz has gotten a bad name in these years of superficial new adult contemporary sounds. Fortunately, there are still a few artists around like Lins. The Brazilian singer-songwriter, whose works ("The Island," "Love Dance" and "Velas" among them) have long been favored by jazz musicians, is one of the rare composers with the subtlety and the lyricism to produce music that is both romantic and sophisticated.

This collection is a superb assemblage of Lins melodies, sung for the most part in Portuguese. His instantly recognizable voice, alternating soaring high notes with warm, crackly low tones, is the perfect vehicle for his songs.

The version of the album prepared for U.S. distribution includes Lins' additional English-language readings of the title track, "I'm Not Alone (Who Loves You)," "Remember Me" and "You Came." Each is a gorgeous ballad, with Brenda Russel's lyrics for "Remember Me" adding the stuff of which hit numbers are made. (In fact, Singers looking for material would do well to check out the entire program ) But the real pleasure of the recording is Lins' ability to place the mature insights of his songs at the intersection between the insinuating rhythms of Brazil and the harmonies and improvisational sensibilities of jazz.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), to four stars (excellent).

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