Luciana Souza, daughter of famous Brazilian musicians, has a wonderful voice: strong and flexible, rangey, full of soul and passion, and with perfect intonation and time. The fact that this all-Brazilian program garnered Souza a 2002 Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal gives you an idea of how good she is (and perhaps how lacking jazz is in such voices and sensibilities). Whatever the case, the nomination is well-deserved.
Souza duos here with three top Brazilian guitarists, offering a fascinating comparison of touch and style: the powerful Marco Pereira, whose 8-string provides extra depth, the legendary Walter Santos (who is also her father), and the ever-subtle Romero Lubambo.
While the excellent liners provide background and translations for each song, you can osmose the subject matter from Souza's intelligent expressiveness. For example, given her yearning tone on the beautiful "Suas Maos," you're not surprised to find it means "Your Hands." Anyone can hear the goodbye in the haunting "Pra Dizer Adeus" ("To Say Goodbye"), the satire in "Pra Que Discutir com Madade" (my Portuguese stops there), and the hopefulness in "Armanha."
The tracks offer a rainbow of beloved Brazilian composers, venerable and new, from Tonhinho Horta to Santos, Edu Lobo and Dorival Caymi to Djavan, and includes two rare and gorgeous Jobim compositions: "Eu Nao Existo sem Voce" ("I Don't Exist Without You?") and "As Praias Desertas" ("Deserted Beaches"?. Whatever they're called, there's wit and swing and poignancy in these performances, as well as a very refreshing purity. Souza is simply superb. Her artistry is even more impressive since the whole CD was recorded live, without studio enhancement or fixes.
Personnel: Luciana Souza (vocals), Romero Lubambo: guitar; Marco Pereira: guitar; Walter Santos; guitar.