Tanya describes her latest album White Sails Blue Skies as “truly a work created for water people, music to sail by.” And there you have it. Being born in Florida and raised on the Atlantic Coast of South Florida, this album is like a homecoming.
She says, “I have been particularly drawn to Brazilian, ethnic fusion and Latin music since the 1980s. When Toots Thielemans (my greatest musical influence), released his ‘Brazil Project’, I was hooked, both on Toots and the music. Just before White Sails Blue Skies was finished, I contacted Toots and asked him to be my guest star on this project. Sadly, he had just retired and passed a short while later.
“White Sails Blue Skies is a manifestation of all the years of listening to these genres and 10 years on the water.” She has dedicated the album to Toots Thielemans.
Truthfully, Tanya’s compositions remind me of the words of Michel Legrand whom I adore. The music is moving and touching, romantic and reflective. Seven of the nine tracks were written by Tanya and all nince tracks were arranged and produced by Tanya herself.
Joining her multi-instrumental self is Jim Ferguson on bass, David Martin on nylon-stringed guitar, Billy Panda and Matt Berry on acoustic guitar, Dann Sherril and Noah Huntgate on percussion, Scott Halgren on piano, John Richards on electric and acoustic guitars, and the great Hendrik Meurkens on chromatic harmonica.
She effortlessly navigates the waters between tango, Carib music, and Jazz and she gives respect and light to every note she sings and plays. There is no one with whom to compare Tanya. She is her own and she wears it well.
When seeing the title Chiaroscura, you immediately think of the art style that contrasts light and shade. Tanya got the inspiration for this song by watching the moonlight playing on the water. It is a work of great depth and leads nicely into Till You which is about the fulfilment of finding one’s destined lover.
The mood turns over with Slow Reckless Tango and its story of unanswered love. But the optimism returns with White Sails and the rediscovery of ourselves. It is lush and luxurious. This one had me coming back for more.
With more songs about scoundrels, loved ones, and beautiful places, the album itself is easily lovable.
Tanya’s voice is soothing and revealing, warm and wonderful. She delivers on the moods she seeks to evoke. The band interprets it all seamlessly for her.
White Sails Blue Skies is a tribute to sea and sky, love and longing, and Toots Thielemans.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl