IMAGINARIUM deals with many different concepts, metaphorically woven into the way we use to describe nature as it relates to our human condition. It celebrates music, friendship, nature and life, but it also deals with their counterparts as well. We live in a world that is constantly trying to maintain its balance, almost always hanging on by a thread. This contrast and duality brings more density to the project and maybe not surprisingly, amongst the chaos, a certain level of equilibrium is found.
From the beginning, the album was conceived as a collaborative project. There are over 40 participants, a combination of professional instrumentalists, singers and amateurs. There are also quite a few very gifted poets and lyricists who worked extensively throughout an entire year of major changes and re-writes. I am eternally thankful to all these wonderful artists who have been very gracious to lend their talents to the making of this album. It is a dream come true to have been able to combine all of those different sound worlds I had envisioned, and this would not have been possible without them. Also, what a joy to have been able to connect all of these incredibly talented people from all over the globe into one single project. I am beyond honored.
I thank and dedicate this project to all of you who have made my dream into reality.
“It is impossible to sum up the size of this musical tour de force, it is just immense. Be it the talent, the energy or the incredible amount of collaborators who are taking part. This album musically explodes around listeners in the most pleasant fashion. Standing at the helm of this larger than size effort is Clarice Assad, a unique performer, arranger, multi instrumentalist, singer and practicing musical professor to boot. “
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“Latin Grammy nominee Assad belongs to a celebrated Brazilian musical dynasty, but her music is far from safe or predictable. Her fourth album has been acclaimed as the most startling Brazilian jazz album in years, nodding to the music of Japan in tracks like “Fantasia,” and even incorporating rap on opener “De Perna Pro Ar.” Assad is an impassioned scat singer, but “A Morte da Flor” features an aria from the American soprano Melody Moore, while the music mixes piano with screams of dissonant violin. Wildly ambitious, it tears up the old definitions of jazz and replaces them with something thrillingly new.”
“One listen to this release by Clarice Assad, and you’ll be dizzied by not only the prowess of this multi-talented artist, but by the variety as well. She sings, arranges, composes and plays the piano here on this collection of eleven varied and variegated pieces which include strings, horns, guitars and more moods than a Greek coffee shop.”
“Grandest is her teaming with Rei and a phalanx of backing singers on the jagged, mechanized “Revolta Das Flores.” Loveliest is “Perto Do Luar,” a gently flowing pas de deux with Souza. Most magical is “Why?,” a garden-bed showdown between a trembling pansy (soprano Yulia Van Doren), a plucky daisy (soprano Melissa Wegner) and the thundering Flower God (baritone Jonathan Kimple).”
“Now I have checked out Home (2011), which features larger helping of neo-Tropicalia originals and covers and even more of Assad’s rollicking scat-singing. But it’s small-ensemble backing and I bet the more than 50 players and singers on Imaginarium are what she’s needed to get all her styles on display and in limber motion. It’s louder, faster, more insistent, includes more jazz, a winking passage of light opera and best of all a couple of outright jokes, which she needed more than was evident. And sure, pretty bell-like voice.”
“Because she is so sophisticated; so well-schooled and such a complete musician the results are—especially here—like certain classical composers and musicians: completely perfect. Traversing through this album is like walking through a museum of life, but a completely imagined one—an Imaginarium.”
WORLD MUSIC REPORT
“As the daughter of one of the Assad Brothers, a world-beating Brazilian classical guitar duo, it’s perhaps no surprise that Clarice Assad’s star is rising. She’s certainly nothing if not ambitious, assembling here a cast of over 40 musicians playing almost as many genres: classical, Gypsy jazz, Afro-Brazilian percussion, Broadway musical and even hip-hop. Does it all hang together? Yes – surprisingly and wonderfully so.”
“Smoking, sizzling date that takes world fusion to the next level of the game and sets some breathless standards and bench marks along the way. ”
“Sublime vocals from Clarice Assad – a singer who’s got some ties to older Brazilian traditions, but who also really makes things all her own – with a dynamic sense of phrasing that’s perfectly backed up by some equally great instrumentation! Clarice handled all the arrangments – which blend flute, strings, vocals, and lots of deft percussion – but always in this lean way that moves along effortlessly with her beautiful vocals.”