Since her early days with UK group Matt Bianco, Basia has forged her own path in music. Born in Poland, she integrates her homeland with Brazilian jazz and a touch of pop to create her own unique mixture. In 1986, she started her solo career with Time and Tide, co-produced by her longtime collaborator (and Matt Bianco alum) Danny White. Their partnership resulted in several hit albums, but Basia mysteriously disappeared from the music scene after her last studio album, 1994's The Sweetest Illusion. Slowly she has resurfaced, first with her Matt Bianco reunion, 2004's Matt's Mood. Next came 2009's solo effort It's That Girl Again, proving that her voice had lost none of luster and that she still possessed a gift for interpreting Brazilian rhythms for a new generation. Subsequently she has returned to touring, and judging by her newest live album From Newport to London: Greatest Hits Live...And More, Basia exudes the same charisma and multicultural appeal that first enchanted fans in the 1980s.
Recorded on June 29, 2011 at the Wytwórnia cultural center in Poland, the album displays Basia in fine voice as she guides the audience through her past hits as well as newer songs. Beginning with "Third Time Lucky," the chanteuse deftly navigates the complicated Latin rhythms exactly as she did in 1994. While her voice remains mostly unchanged, she slightly changes the key for "Drunk on Love," but without detracting from the original recording. "Astrud," Basia's ode to her idol, Brazilian jazz legend Astrud Gilberto, serves as a loving tribute with its sultry rhythms and fond lyrics. "Where is she now the lovely girl/ With the softest voice you've ever heard/ Asking 'Fly Me to the Moon,'" she croons, a gentle classical guitar solo accenting the song's lovely chord changes. The band immediately segues into "New Day for You," its Latin feel perfectly accompanying the former song. The live instruments, including horns, nicely accent Basia and White's abilities to merge jazz and pop into a winning combination. The new addition of a lilting flute solo adds depth to the song.
White deserves great credit for rearranging old chestnuts like "Cruising for Bruising" to breathe new life into them. Extended piano and saxophone solos, slight changes in percussion, and different harmonies subtly deepen the tunes, encouraging the audience to listen to the well-known tracks with fresh ears. For example, the Time and Tide track "How Dare You" sounds even better here than on the album, as White emphasizes the tune's jazz elements. Unlike the synthesizer-heavy studio version, the live horns, keyboards, and drums add punch, with Basia's strident voice growling playfully.