Luciana Souza with Romero Lubambo, and Trio da Paz with Kenny Barron
In keeping with tradition, the 17th annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival again brings an illuminating thematic frame to the first of its two weekends. “Jazz and the Music of the Americas” is a two-day festival-within-a-festival interweaving musicians and idioms from Brazil, Argentina, and points Caribbean.
Two Brazilian-centered collaborative groups epitomize the happy and ongoing artistic marriage of jazz and musical things Brazilian. Brazil’s contributions to and collaborations with jazz has a special emphasis, bossa nova and samba blended freely and richly within the language of jazz, Brazilian music’s harmonic sophistication and its endemic sense of “swing” makes for an easy rapport with the vocabularies of jazz.
First Set: Luciana Souza: Brazilian Duos with Romero Lubambo
Luciana Souza has been one of Brazil’s most stellar, lyrical and flexible vocal exports and emissaries for many years, and her resume ranges over a dizzying number of collaborators, from Paul Simon to Herbie Hancock (on his acclaimed album River—the Joni Letters), James Taylor and contemporary classical composer Osvaldo Golijov.
Sao Paulo-born, she came out of a highly musical Bossa Nova-steeped family, between her singer-guitarist-songwriter Walter Santos and poet mother Tereza Souza. With her unique blend of subtle of expression, a powerful voice and stylistic diversity bridging jazz, Brazilian roots and new music adventurousness, the Grammy-winning Souza has carried that family legacy forward, including her own fresh new variation on the bossa tradition, heard on her celebrated solo album The New Bossa Nova, produced by her husband, Larry Klein.
More recently she garnered Grammy nominations for her albums Duos III and The Book of Chet. In Healdsburg, the singer appears in a signature setting, with fellow Brazilian music master, guitarist Romero Lubambo, a duo with history and widespread acclaim, and, for one, beautifully documented on her album Duos III. They make beautiful music together, working two parts towards a greater whole, and ever-steeped in bold, proud Brazilian heritage.
Second Set: Trio da Paz with guest Kenny Barron
Trio da Paz, an aggregate of top flight Brazilian musicians, including guitarist Romero Lubambo, joined by bassist Nilson Matta and drummer Duduka da Fonseca, dates back a quarter century now as one of the landmark proponents of a true Brazilian-jazz aesthetic.
Up front, guitarist Lubambo is a familiar face and voice in the context of jazz, proper, having worked with Dianne Reeves, Kathleen Battle, and Michael Brecker and others. Matta’s resume includes work with Joe Henderson, Yo-Yo Ma, Don Pullen and Paul Winter, while da Fonseca has worked with native Brazilian legends such as Jobim and Astrud Gilberto, John Scofield and Tom Harrell.
From their debut recording, Brazil from the Inside, through a discography including Partido Out, Café and Somewhere, the trio’s reputation has paved the way for the group’s many collaborations with notable figures from jazz, including piano master Kenny Barron, joining the trio this evening, is considered to be one of the dominant, tasteful and most distinctive voices on the contemporary jazz piano landscape today.
As represented on Barron’s luminous fine 2002 album Canta Brazil, featuring Trio da Paz, the lyrical and ever-curious pianist’s innately broad palette extends to the Brazilian patois, and the musicians involved in this pact engage in a persuasive and perfectly natural dialogue between compatible compadres. Barron’s passion for Brazilian music has continued into his recent era.
No doubt, the Trio da Paz and Kenny Barron reunion will be a memorable occasion. And if that is not enough, expect some surprises throughout the evening.
Read the recent article about Kenny Barron in DownBeat