This piece was first published by JazzTimes on December, 2009
As singer Claudia Acuña launched into her first song at her concert at Festival Miami at the University of Miami, in Coral Gables, FL, a few weeks ago, her group´s swing, her own ease at coiling and releasing the melody, even her body language, all said jazz. But the words were in Spanish, and the song, “Gracias a la Vida” by Chilean singer-songwriter Violeta Parra, was no jazz standard but a modern classic of Latin American folk music.
To those familiar with the original song, the juxtaposition brought smiles and a few “Can you do that to that song?” looks. To those who weren’t, this was simply jazz — with an accent.
But for all of us at that show that night, it was also a glimpse into a world of possibilities.