Portuguese jazz vocalist Maria Mendes returns with her second album Innocentia (Sony Music) featuring virtuoso clarinetist Anat Cohen. This new album is a sophisticated set featuring new takes on old favourites, exquisite adaptations of classical pieces and deeply personal compositions about sweet childhood nostalgia, innocence and hope. Debut album wooed fans and critics worldwide with Mendes’ impressive performances at the Blue Note Jazz Club NY; Montreux Jazz Festival; SESC Pompeia São Paulo, to name a few. On Innocentia, Mendes and her band of Dutch all-stars continue to join the dots between Western giants such as Pat Metheny and the freer, percussive style of Hermeto Pascoal. Whether it’s standards such as ‘Smile’, a poignant Sting song or the exotic rhythm of Villa Lobos ‘Bachianas Brasileiras Nr 5’, there is a loose and playful approach to each adaptation. The first thing that strikes you about Maria Mendes is the purity of her tone and her graceful, lyrical phrasing. She glides over her band, adding emphasis here, lingering there, scatting in unexpected directions… and it is as a performer that she truly excels, moving the listener … stirring the soul. Prepare to be quietly stunned.