Standards Served Latin Soul Style (Music Thoughts: Here’s To Life, Maria de la Vega and The Wayward Five)

mdlvI am always on the look out for unique takes on The Great American Songbook, and I just found a new discovery who does a great job of reinventing these standards. The band’s name is ‘Maria De La Vega and The Wayward Five,’ and the album is titled ‘Here’s To Life.” I discovered this album because Spotify (I am hooked, by the way) recommended their album to me. De La Vega has a nice sassy bluesy sound, and she is a hot trotting swinging mama. She growls and belts and you just know she means every word she is singing – you feel that she has already lived these songs. My favorite track: ‘After You’ve Gone’ with an arrangement that swings like a chandelier. She also has a salsa-flavored ‘Caravan’ that would not be out of place on a Celia Cruz album. It’s fantastic. Her band is in tune with her soul, and it seems like she bears her soul in every track. I love the uptempo numbers, and wonder why they titled the album on the only ballad, and it doesn’t really represent the rest of the album. I see that they perform every Wednesday at Hotel Bel Air, which is really not that far from me. I should really check them out live.

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