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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Aug 27, 2012

A new CD from Brazilian singer Luciana Souza is always good news. Two new CDs on the same day is reason to celebrate. For ten years Ms. Souza has been releasing CDs as a leader, earning four Grammy-nominations (Brazilian Duos, North and South, Duos II, and Tide). She has also been widely in demand by other artists, most notably Herbie Hancock, who showcased her on his Grammy-winning River- The Joni Letters.

After a three-year hiatus from recording, Ms.Souza returns to Sunnyside Records with two new albums produced by Grammy-winner Larry Klein – Duos III, and The Book of Chet.  The simultaneous release of the two CD’s will be accompanied by tour dates throughout the Fall and Spring including Joe’s Pub in New York City on September 12 and an evening at Los Angeles’ Broad Theatre on September 1.   

Duos III continues her winning formula of recording intimate musical dialogues with fellow Brazilian musicians. For this CD, she sings with three very accomplished, yet very different, guitar players. Long-time collaborator Romero Lubambo contributes four exquisite tracks. Luciana gets her first chance to record with Toninho Horta, whose intricate compositions and original guitar playing have influenced a generation of musicians in Brazil and North America on four other songs, including two of his originals. Brazilian classical guitarist Marco Pereira shines on covers of Jobim and Gilberto Gil, and contributes an original, “Dona Lu”,  to boot.

If Duos III is standard Souza, then The Book of Chet is an exciting departure. Recorded with West Coast greats Larry Koonse (guitar), David Piltch (bass), and Jay Bellerose (drums), the CD is Luciana’s first exclusive recording of American standards. She pays tribute to the great Chet Baker, finding new ways to interpret songs he made famous, always with a delicate combination of quiet and expressiveness.

I spoke with Luciana earlier this summer, and had a delightful conversation about how these two CDs came to be. Her reminiscences of some of her past work with jazz masters like Hancock, Steve Kuhn and John Patitucci are nothing short of wonderful. Click here to listen to Podcast 294, which includes the following musical interludes:

Luciana Souza – “The Very Thought of You” from The Book of Chet. From an album of Chet Baker covers comes “a song he should have sung”, but never did, according to Luciana. The arrangement is a perfect showcase for her aching vocal.

Luciana Souza – “Doralice” and “Beijo Partido” from Duos III. The first song features the incomparable Romero Lubambo on guitar, while the second is a Toninho Horta composition and collaboration that closes the CD.

John Patitucci – “Now The River” from Songs, Stories & Spirituals. Wordless vocals are something of a hallmark of Luciana’s work, and this track (written by Luciana) from one of my favorite CDs allows her to turn her voice into a haunting instrument. Musicians include Patitucci (acoustic bass, 6-string bass); Thomas Patitucci (nylon-string guitar); Elizabeth Lim Dutton, Richard Rood (violin); Lawrence Dutton (viola); Sachi Patitucci (cello); Tim Ries (flute, alto flute); Eddie Simon (piano, percussion); and Brian Blade (drums, percussion).

Ryan Truesdell – “Look to the Rainbow” from Centennial - Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans. This E.Y. Harburg/Burton Lane tune was arranged by Gil Evans in 1965 for a project with singer Astrid Gilberto. It was dropped from the final version, and presented on Truesdell’s masterful CD for the first time, with Luciana taking over the vocals.

 Herbie Hancock – “Amelia” from River- The Joni Letters. This homage to the great Joni Mitchell was a surprise winner of best album at the Grammy Awards, the first jazz album to win in 43 years and only the second in the award's history. Luciana was not originally to be involved in the final recording, but she tells a delightful story of how she came to be a contributor. Musicians include Hancock (piano), Wayne Shorter(saxophones), Dave Holland (bass), Lionel Loueke (guitar) and Vinnie Colaiuta (drums).