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Mariza at SF Jazz

Mariza is my pick for the most dynamic performer on the planet.  I first saw her years ago at the Henry Kaiser Auditorium in Oakland.  The usually jaded Tom Waites was weeping a few seats away from me.  And I have tears in my eyes from the moment she takes the stage.  How much is her amazing stage presence, how much the notes I know will be coming, how much some triggering of my Sephardic blood, I don't know.  But she seems to have this effect on most of her audience.  Fado is by nature heart wrenching, and Mariza is blessed with a huge voice and incredibly  intuitive musicianship.  From full blast to a whisper, every note is a revelation, every note a sweet arrow in the heart.  Every nuanced move, dance step, hand gesture, intensifies the theme of the song.  One is reminded of Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis (a great singer of songs, as Gil Evans said) with the rare ability to project duende with a note, a gesture.  She has been playing large halls for years, and I was apprehensive the intimate Robert Miner Auditorium would be too small a venue.  Many a great artist overplays a small room.  "Ah, this reminds me of a taverna".  She walked through the audience, whisppered to them, sang without a mic.  Mariza, African and Portuguese, born in Mozambique, and raised in Lisbon, was raised in her parents' taverna singing fado from the age of five.   For this series of concerts she has Jose Neto on guitarra, Pedro Joia on guitar, Nando Araujo on bass, and Vicky Marques on drums. They played with an understated elegance, obviously delighted to be playing for such a gifted performer.  In a black beaded backless gown, and a royal blue belt cinched at her long waist, Mariza is the epitome of fado.  Her performance of Amalia's Primavera, "My great passion" was riveting.  If you never see another performer live, see Mariza.