Alejandra Ribera - La Boca

by Jim Harris Rating:5 Release Date:2014-02-11

La Boca, the second album by beautifully named Canadian-born singer Alejandra Ribera, came out to little fanfare in 2014 but is being re-released. If you are a fan of light jazz and dark songs, it may well be worth listening to.

Ribera’s voice is the showcase, as it floats low and throaty at times and sails off high occasionally. There is no questioning how evocative and a bit sexy her delivery is. She also sings a few songs in Spanish and maybe one in French, I’m not sure, but the songs remain consistent across one plain… light jazz. 

The primary vehicle to support this strong voice is the piano and along with bass and drum and soft mixing, her voice consistently takes center stage.  Her delivery and lyrical content at times makes her sound like a female Leonard Cohen and therein lies my biggest disconnect with this album.

While Alejandra is billed as a World alternative jazz singer there is very little world or alternative leanings here and the simple jazz frameworks most all these songs are structured around frankly aren’t that interesting unless you like that sort of minimal jazz sound.  At times her stark throaty delivery seems a little too throaty and the pace of some of these songs call a little too much attention to this.

If she is going to break out, so to speak, she needs to mix the music up to at least match her vocal delivery.  If she wants to bill herself as more than a jazzy lounge act she needs to splash her songs with more musical volume, pace, and color.  If you are a fan of sultry jazz singers there may be enough here to interest you but Alejandra Ribera is no Nina Simone or Peggy Lee.

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