Day by Day
Bete.e and Stef, Universal Music/Bete.e and Stef Records

Bete.e and Stef, a talented duo from Montreal, Canada, first came to the attention of Canadians in 1997 with their self made and promoted CD Jazz/Bossa Nova. It sold 50,000 units, an incredible achievement when jazz CDs, either domestic or imported, sell at the most 10,000 CDs in Canada. Day by Day is Bete.e and Stef’s second release and it does not disappoint.

Produced by heavyweight Michel Pepin, who worked with Rufus Wainwright and Emmy Lou Harris, Day by Day reflects the duo’s love of Bossa. Almost half of the songs on the CD are covers of Bossa Nova songs. While both Bete.e and Stef are natives of Quebec and are not from Brazil, they certainly demonstrate a talent for performing Bossa. As a matter of fact, when l first listened to the CD l thought Bete.e and Stef were from Brazil. Stef, sounding like a young Carlos Jobim, does an excellent rendition of Toquinho’s “Regras tres.” Bete.e breathes new zest into Giberto Gil’s “Eu vim da bahia,” Jorge Ben’s samba “Zana” and Jobim’s “So tinha de ser comm voce.” While Bete.e croons as beautifully as the other Brazilian divas of Bossa, she brings a freshness to the genre. Perhaps it’s her French accent when she sings in Portuguese that is the determining factor. When language can enhance the beauty of song, the bossa “Vagabond” sung by Bete.e and Stef in French stands out for its elegance and novelty.

While proving that Bete.e and Stef are capable and skilled practitioners of Bossa Nova, Day by Day also highlights their versatility and broader talent outside the genre. The upbeat, infectious jazzy “I’m There” and “It’s Over,” the salsa tinged “ Listen to the Night,” and the low-key “Wish You Well” aptly prove their ability outside Bossa Nova. These songs have a sparse, cool, sophisticated quality to them. Making her even more enticing, Bete.e sounds like a Quebec version of Sade when she sings in English. On a scale of 1 to 10, this CD deserves 11.

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Good Morning Kiss
Carmen Lundy, Just-in-Time

Good Morning Kiss is jazz vocalist Carmen Lundy’s sparkling debut CD. Her compositions are entertaining, lively and unwavering. Her songs range from beautiful, melancholy renditions of Jobim’s “Dindi” to spirited, upbeat numbers like “Show Me That You Love Me,” “Time is Love” and “Love for Sale.” Furthermore, the musicians on the CD succeed in providing a warm, solid backing to Lundy’s songs. Lundy’s Good Morning Kiss is a good first effort.

– Tim Pelzer (