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Mariza

Mariza played SF Jazz again for four nights at the end of October. More than the best fado singer, I believe she is the most commanding performer in the world today. With Jose Manuel Neto on Portuguese guitar, Pedro Joia on classical guitar, Fernando Araujo on bass, and Hugo Marques on percussion, she has had the same band for several years, and they are seamless. Unlike most fado guitarists, Joia employs a lot of flamenco techniques, which gives a more percussive edge to many of the tunes. Neto is magical. They all have individual careers, and their affection for Mariza is palpable. The first time I saw her, an SF Jazz show years ago at the Henry Kaiser Auditorium in Oakland, Tom Waits, not known for sentimentality, was weeping a few seats away from me. She always makes me cry; just walking on stage. I know what is coming. Each note goes right through my heart. She always sing Primavera; associated with the great Amalia Rodrigues. She sings it for herself. Walking in the rain afterwards, I am wondering why she affects me so much. And then a flash - I am part Sephardic Jew. Mendes, Soares, Perriea - Spanish and Portuguese names. It is literally in my DNA.

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Wednesday October 30 the great Mariza played at Zellerbach Auditorium.  I have seen her many times over the years since she first played the Henry Kaiser Auditorium as part of SF Jazz.  And I saw her in March in the intimate Robert N. Miner Auditorium.  In truth, I was considering not attending this show just because I had seen her very recently.  But Mariza is one of a hanful of artists, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Ravi Shankar, Paco de Lucia, Vicente Amigo, that I will literally see as often as I can, indeed every night, if I could.  And my response at her first notes are always the same - I weep.  Yes, she is very beautiful, and dramatic, and has the stage presence of Sinatra.  But it is the voice, the emotion, that always overcomes me.  Truly universal, and completely fado.  With Jose Neto on guitarra, Pedro Joia on guitar, Nando Araujo on bass guitar, and Vicky Marques (a boy) on drums, the arrangements vary from a capella to the orchestral.  Even American and Brazillian pop tunes become true fado in her hands.  She teaches the audience some Portuguese to sing along with her.  Before the encores, she walks through the audience singing, and then sings off mic.  I have some sephardic Spanish and Portuguese blood.  Is that why she affects me so?     

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