Circulo - Carla Hassett

Paulista Records

Carla Hassett has it going on; smoldering looks, versatile voice and an original musical sensibility drawn from the best of North and South American popular idioms. Her third album, Circulo benefits from Carla’s unique life cycle. Born in Brazil, raised in Chicago and now teaching and performing music in L.A., Carla retraced her past to develop a sound for Circulo that bridges smoky samba and Motown soul, underpinned with leading edge electronic savvy and crack performances from her collaborators. She returned to Sao Paulo for a year in preparation for Circulo, taking an apartment steps from where her parents first met, and immersing herself in the vibrant scene that has produced artists like CéU and Curumin. Back in North America, she began recording, on a console purchased from Motown legend Barry Gordy to capture the authentic soulful vibe that enthralled her as a girl listening to Chicago radio. “I want people to experience the joy of music, to see where that passion comes from,” says Carla. “I didn’t want to rely on anyone else to make that journey happen. This was my full-circle story.” Notwithstanding, a very illustrious circle of talent was assembled to realize this very personal vision. Circulo was co-produced by Léo Costa and recorded with a hand-picked assembly of L.A.’s finest Brazilian players, and, when it came time to capture the authenticity of the great Motown vocal performances, Carla brought in guest producer, James Gadson. A legend in his own right, the drummer and vocalist has worked with the likes of Bill Withers, Martha Reeves, Randy Crawford, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, BB King, and Rose Royce. The depth of understanding Carla has acquired, from the Brazilian now and the soulful past, becomes immediately apparent from the opening, ear-tickling studio play that introduces the first track, Janela, a funky, sexy masterpiece of sambatronix which sets a high bar for the rest of the album. Equally adept singing in Portuguese and English, one can only hope Carla finds an audience as broad and encompassing as the circular journey that has brought her to this point.