Thursday, July 02, 2009

Luciana Souza/Romero Lubambo - Club Soda, 7/1/2009

Luciana Souza and Romero Lubambo in duo displayed the variety and potential in such a sparse duo. Lubambo played exclusively nylon-string guitar, and Souza proved to be a terrific pandeirista and triangle player in addition to her tremendous vocal skills. Throughout the evening it was clear that they take great joy in playing together. Souza's time feel is precise, and the two of them share the same sense of swing, be it on sambas, forró or jazz. Lubambo's voicings are rich and dense, full of crunchy semitones, and he unleashes them over a solid surdo-esque bassline. The arrangements were fantastic, breaking up the traditional vocal-plus-accompaniment with counterpoint and supremely tight unison lines.

Their repertoire choice was inspired as well, ranging from Paul Simon's "Amulet" (recorded on Souza and Lubambo's new album, Tide), a gorgeous rendition of "Chega de Saudade," a heartbreaking take on "You Go To My Head," and a jovial romp through "But Not for Me." They closed their first set with Hermeto Pascoal's "Chorinho pra ele," an incredibly difficult song to play, let alone sing. Whenever I hear true bossa nova, I'm fascinated by the nuance that the performers bring to it, instead of the way many jazzers approach bossa as an archetype that must remain in tact the whole way through. The loose version of "So Danço Samba" that opened the concert and the expansive version of "Dindi" that closed it were two more examples of this open spirit.

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