Latin jazz is one of the most celebrated subgenres in all of the jazz lexicon, and this summer, instead of trying to change the identity of the legendary style, singer Integriti Reeves attempts to evolve its basic concept in her debut EP Stairway to the Stars, and its first single, “Eu Vim Da Bahia.” “Eu Vim Da Bahia” is a testament to composers who know that keeping it simple, more often than not, produces a much more urbane result than incorporating silly bells and whistles ever does. The rhythm of this track’s percussion is patient, contrasting with an eager string arrangement that pushes its way through the misty mix with a passion that is as enthralling as Reeves’ crooning is. She puts us under her spell right out of the gate and doesn’t let us turn away from the smoky timbre of her vocal until we’re as head over heels for her harmonies as the backing band is. Reeves is unleashing a tidal wave of melodies in this song and making it impossible for anyone to ignore her uniquely intimate sound.
This master mix is truly divine, but I would have made the drum pattern a little less prominent in the instrumental refrain. It muddies the violin solo only slightly, but enough to where I think it would have been better to reduce to the percussion’s role during this portion of the track. Reeves is on fire from beginning to end, commanding our attention away from the band and constantly challenging us to keep up with her dexterous navigation of the grooves. She never flinches, never comes across as anything but confident, and retains a composed form even in the multitier climax of the song. It’s very impressive work for a studio virgin, and to be truthful, if you would have told me that this was, in fact, her third or fourth time recording a single, I probably would have believed you and never questioned it. She doesn’t show any of the jitters, nor the amateurish immaturity, that is normally a staple of greenhorn releases here; on the contrary, Reeves sounds like she was born to sing, and more specifically, sing Latin jazz.
I cannot wait to hear more from this young lady as she cultivates her sound further. Integriti Reeves already has more going for her than the bulk of rookie artists that have come to my desk in the last year have, and even if you were to take away the hooky qualities that “Eu Vim Da Bahia” boasts, her vocal would still warrant a second look from jazz enthusiasts from one side of the world to the other. A couple of hiccups aside, this is a flawlessly constructed debut, and it summarizes the tone of her first extended play, the brilliant Stairway to the Stars, better than any other song on the record does. I’ll have to see her live to be certain, but if she brings the same approach that she takes into the studio onto the stage with her, then witnessing a performance in person would make for a must-see event.
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-review by Christopher Finn