Reviews and Features - "Entre Amigos":
Interview and Podcast by Paul Conley, Capitol Public Radio, Sacramento, CA July 29, 2017
Bay area vocalist Sandy Cressman is steeped in the music of Brazil. Her sensitive, studied approach has won praise from Brazilian musicians and has earned her invitations to perform in that country.
Cressman began her career singing Manhattan Transfer-style jazz with a successful group called Pastiche. Then she fell in love with Brazilian music, and once she learned Portuguese and formed her own band, there was no turning back.
“I know most of my audiences don’t speak Portuguese and yet I’m sure what catches them is what caught me, which is the depth of the harmonic progressions, the beauty of the melodies, the intensity of the rhythms. [Brazilian music has] a color and passion that I haven’t found in any other form of music,” says the Bronx-born, San Jose-raised singer.
But it’s not just the music of Brazil that attracts Cressman. She says that country's language also has compelling qualities for a singer.
“Portuguese is beautiful in that there are a lot more vowels sounds per word. So that carries a lot more tone. [In English translations] you can hear how many more consonants there are.”
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From Santana to jam bands to Brazilian jazz — Cressman clan does it all
Reviews of "Brasil-Sempre No Coração" and "Homenagem Brasileira"
|Singer Sandy Cressman presents a soulful tribute to the contemporary musical heritage of Brazil on her debut release for A-Records, a subsidiary of Challenge Records in the Netherlands. A singer's singer who has graced the work of artists like Ray Obiedo, Pete Escovedo, and Rebeca Mauleon, Sandy has carved a name for herself in the '80s with jazz vocal group Pastiche. "Homenagem Brasileira" is a cool shower of interpretive works that showcases the warmly superb and crystalline voice of this emerging diva. In collaboration with pianist and keyboardist Marcos Silva (former musical director for Flora Purim and Airto), the album features reedman Harvey Wainapel, who splashes a variety of colors from a variety of saxophones. Bassist David Belove anchors it with a seasoned tumbao that allows drummer Celso Alberti to add a rainbow of percussive adornment. Silva is also extremely impressive, constructing these gorgeous arrangements and riffing out stellar solos with a virtuosity that swings. But it's Sandy's party all the way, as the New York City-born Cressman caresses the Portuguese lyrics with confidence and a surprising, almost French, articulation. The uptempo samba "Vale O Escrito" opens it and threads very nicely this well sequenced album. The melodicism of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Felicidade" showcases her superb intonation while the "Ivan Lins Medley", a passioinate rendition of six Lins classics, shows its radiance. This record is straight and to the point with modest production value that allows for the musical talent to carry it and they do that with A+ caliber.
Latin Beat Magazine (Jesse Varela)
| "....Here, then, is a nest of true chirps (bop term for female singer), ladies who aver, it would seem, that without a song the day wouldn't even begin, let alone never end.
Sandy Cressman: Homenagem Brasileira (Homage to Brazil) (A Records 73134; 56:58) ***1/2 ( three and a half stars) San Francisco Bay Area-based Cressman speaks Portuguese and has an innate feel for that land's music. Backed by Rio-born pianist Marcos Silva, she cranks out an appealing program that includes Nascimento's "Viola Violar" and Jobim's "Felicidade".
Downbeat (Zan Stewart)
|"...Singing the all-Brazilian program in Portuguese, Cressman's voice floated smoothly over Harvey Wainapel's clarinet and saxes, the keyboards of Marcos Silva, the guitar of Carlos Oliveira, David Belove's bass and Celso Alberti's drums.
Cressman pours out her love, sometimes to excess, for the delightfully sensuous and melodious Brazilian lyrics in all her renditions. Her medley of Ivan Lins songs, her deft handling of Milton Nascimento's difficult "Viola Violar" and and her interpretations of songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Donato and Dori Caymmi are nicely turned."
San Francisco Examiner (Phillip Elwood)
|"Sandy Cressman is a Northern California singer/songwriter whose heart belongs to Rio. Her vocals on these under-exposed Brazilian classics (Ivan Lins/Milton Nascimento/Gilberto Gil/Jobim et al) are confident and expressive. A real bonus for Keyboard readers is Marcos Silva's captivating piano playing and arranging; if you've ever wanted to cop the Brazilian keyboard style, this is the disc to scrutinize.
Keyboard Magazine (Richard Leiter)
| Judging by the vibe at Monday's CD release concert for her Homenagem Brasileira ("Homage to Brazil"), San Francisco singer Sandy Cressman loves Brazil so much that she probably dreams in Portuguese. Dressed more for the beach than for the bar, in a skimpy and glittering black mini skirt and matching top with bare midriff, Cressman stroked her long, curly brunette locks, and simmered with her energized quintet of Brazilian and BraziI-loving instrumentalists on two sets of her favorite sambas and Brazilian pop tunes.
It's quite a stylistic leap from her old days as one-third of the upscale jazz harmony trio Pastiche. Married to Peter Apfelbaum trombonist Jeff Cressman, she took time off to have two children, and in the process became publicist to the Apfelbaum crew. She received so many requests to do PR for other acts that she seriously considered that option before choosing to return to singing, this time the Brazilian fare she loves most.
Just back from her first pilgrimage to Brazil, Cressman sang her warm, romantic lyrics without strain. The band was the same as on Homenagem Brasileira, with long-time accompanist, arranger and keyboardist Marcos silva, electric bassist David Belove, drummer Celso Alberti, the ever-amazing saxophonist Harvey Wainapel (a bebopper who, like Cressman, is now a full-blown Brazil addict), and (for part of the concert) guitarist and percussionist Carlinhos Oliveira.
At times it was just Cressman and a guitar; more often the whole electric band smoothly followed her as she harmonized with Silva or scatted along with Wainapel's marvelous soprano sax and clarinet improvisations. What Cressman and her musicians brought to the evening was a reverential tribute to the spirit of Brazil through its music, a sensual and warm performance that was both celebration and showcase for Cressman's fine singing.
East Bay Express Review of Sandy's CD Release Performance at Yoshi's (Larry Kelp)
|I feel much the same as Sandy Cressman does about Brazilian music, in her own words: "Somehow this music opens the doors to my deepest emotions, and lights a fire that makes me feel alive." Homenagem Brasileira is homage to an era of Brazilian composers and artists featuring a fine choice of material from classic Jobim, to contemporary artists such as Ivan Lins, Djavan, Dori Caymmi and others. Formerly of the vocal trio Pastiche, Sandy's voice is well suited to this genre. Sweet, yet with plenty of substance and emotional depth, often reminded me of Leila Pinheiro. All songs are performed in Portuguese. Supported by a superb blend of players featuring Marcos silva, who in addition to the various instruments he plays here, is the producer and arranger. His arrangements are rich, interesting, and contemporary. Steeped in the tropical brew of his native Brazil, we hear with the lush harmonies, and diverse rhythms infused with a touch of jazz. Harvey Wainapel;s tasty harmonic and rhythmic stylings add a colo9rful flavor to the mix. the end result is an uplifting and very listenable album that flows smoothly along like the waves at Ipanema.
Bayjazz dot com review of Homenagem Brasileira (Mishla)
|Got a nice call the other day from singer Sandy Cressman, who was still high from her sold-out record release party on February 1 at Yoshi's Nitespot in Oakland. She is just back from Brazil, and her debut recording is entitled "Homenagem Brasileira" on the Dutch label A-Records. With pianist and keyboardist Marcos Silva, it's a gem, with special guest Harvey Wainapel adding his sax textures to the gorgeous musical mix of Jazz brasileiro. Bassist David Belove anors it all with a seasoned tumbao that allows drummer Celso Alberti to add a rainbow of percussive adornment. I love "Vale O Escrito", but it's the Ivan Lins medley that lets Sandy strut her stuff. Sandy was formerly with the ace vocal Jazz ensemble Pastiche. She is the wife of talented trombonist Jeff Cressman as well as a mom. Sandy is one to keep your eyes and ears on as her star rises.
JazzNow (Jesse Varela)