Santoro will perform with pianist Jovino Santos Neto at the Triple Door in Seattle on Sept. 13.

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Brazilian singer Paula Santoro, who plays the Triple Door with pianist Jovino Santos Neto Sunday as part of the Brazilian Nights series, was supposed to have played with Santos Neto back in 2003. The gig fell through, however, when she was called to Europe for a tour that included an appearance on the popular London TV show, “Later … with Jools Holland.”

“Amy Winehouse was on that show,” recalled the lovely singer over dinner in Columbia City Tuesday night. “She didn’t have the high hair then. She was so good.”

Santoro, who has earned critical favor in Europe and Brazil but is not well-known in North America, hails originally from the interior state of Minas Gerais, birthplace of Clube da Esquina, a lush strain of late ‘60s post-bossa nova music spearheaded by Milton Nascimento and Márcio Borges.

Santoro’s lush, warm vocals and gentle rhythms, often accompanied by piano, reflect that influence, as well as her deep background in jazz, classical music, bossa nova and rock.

Santoro cites Joni Mitchell as her ideal artist, though Elis Regina, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Gal Costa and Edith Piaf are also part of her musical pantheon.

As a child, she said she would press her ear to the door of musical salons hosted by her grandfather, a doctor who played violin.

“I was not allowed to be there,” she recalled fondly, “and sometimes the door would suddenly open and they would be so surprised to find me there!”

Santoro studied classical piano and voice — as well as medicine, which she gave up for music — and sings with quiet clarity and passion. Her set Sunday will include songs from her alluring new album, “Mar do Meu Mundo,” which features a welcome bevy of songs by new composers. She’ll also do tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Edu Lobo and — for a break in English — George Gershwin, whose “Summertime” she performed as a duet with Seattle’s Gail Pettis this past weekend on Orcas Island.

“We were instantly in communication,” said Santoro of Pettis, who will drop in to reprise the duet at the Triple Door.

Santoro’s group is fleshed out by Santos Neto’s other regular sidemen Chuck Deardorf (bass) and Jeff Busch (drums).

7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle; $40 (206-838-4333 or