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Joyce and Dori Caymmi Nighttown Cleveland Heights, Ohio November 3, 2005
It's particularly rewarding to see that there's a budding audience in Cleveland for Afro-Cuban and Brazilian musical styles. Over the past five years, outlets for live music and opportunities to network with other fans have increased tremendously and this might account for the standing room-only crowds that came to hear two of Brazil's most significant artists. Both Joyce and Dori Caymmi have taken the stage at Nighttown on their own, but it was an especially sage move to put the pair together and then add a stellar Brazilian rhythm section including pianist Marcos Silva, bassist Rodolfo Stroeter, and drummer Tutty Moreno.
Steeped in the conventions of bossa nova, samba and other folkloric styles, Joyce is one of Brazil's greatest musical exports and she brings a clarity and sparkle to her traditional, jazz-inflected and dance-ready music that is eminently appealing. Coming from an immensely talented family, it's no surprise that Dori Caymmi is known throughout his native country for his own style of vocalizing, at once dark and brooding and yet perfectly in line with the Brazilian idea of saudade.
Both sets were similar in repertoire and equally inspired, with Caymmi starting things off sans Joyce for a couple of numbers including a fine medley of Jobim's "Desafinado and the evocative "Brazil. The contrast in the pair's musical personalities would make for a captivating blend when the two finally came together, Joyce's soaring upper register complemented by Dori's dulcet baritone. This yin and yang of timbres has worked for Joyce before, namely in her previous collaboration with another Brazilian legend, namely Joao Donato. Several numbers were done from Dori and Joyce's new album, Rio Bahia, including an ebullient "The Colors of Joy.
As for Joyce's own portion of the program, she dazzled us with familiar numbers such as "Feminina and "Upa Neguinho as well as her own take on Jobim, offering "One Note Samba on the first set and "The Waters of March on the second. Dedicated to the African heritage that has played a huge role in the folk tradition of Brazilian music, "Forcas D'Alma proved to be a quintessential example of what makes Joyce's style so appealing. Bolstered by her accomplished guitar work, her originals go way beyond familiar bossa or samba grooves and the "hooks built into the choruses are haunting and appealing in nature.
Following a romp through Baden Powell's classic "Pra Que Chorar that was met with healthy doses of applause, encores were in order at the end of each set. A fresh face would be put on the iconic "Berimbau first time out and later the evening would conclude with a frenzied samba that allowed both Rodolfo Stroeter and Tutty Moreno a chance to shine, the pair otherwise offering a most resilient foundation for Dori and Joyce's many flights of fancy throughout the evening.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.