PHOTOS & RECAP: Camila Meza at Small’s Jazz Club

From Camila Meza at Small's Jazz Club

I spent most of the day on the train yesterday, traveling back and forth between NYC and New Haven, CT. By the time I got back home to Brooklyn I was tired and planning to crash for the night. But I decided to see who was playing around town, just in case. I noticed that Chilean vocalist and guitarist Camila Meza was at Small’s Jazz Club. I’d never heard her music so I visited her site, listened to about two minutes of her singing, and hopped back on a train to Manhattan.

From Camila Meza at Small's Jazz Club

Meza has a rich voice that’s playful without being too syrupy. Her repertoire was straight from the Great American Songbook (with the exception of Ibrahim Ferrer’s “Silencio”), but she managed to make the music sound fresh with her obvious enthusiasm and her emotional connection with the songs.

From Camila Meza at Small's Jazz Club

Meza was joined by bassist Pablo Menares, another new-to-me player. Menares was equally skilled at holding down the bottom and making interesting harmonic choices throughout the range of his instrument. And his soloing was melodic and creative.

From Camila Meza at Small's Jazz Club

Meza’s guitar playing was equally impressive — and would have been completely at home in the 1950s. Her solos were fluid and well constructed without falling back on cliches. Several times she doubled her solos with her voice.

From Camila Meza at Small's Jazz Club

For the final song of the night (“But Not For Me”), Meza and Menares were joined by saxophonist Melissa Aldana, who fit perfectly with the old school vibe that was happening on stage. Aldana leads a regular jam session at Cafe Vivaldi and played with Greg Osby in August.

From Camila Meza at Small's Jazz Club

My only request for Meza’s next gig would be more songs in Spanish and from farther afield than the Great American Songbook. She’s playing in Berne, Switzerland for five nights in October, and then at several New York locations later this fall. Go see her.

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