One often hears the expression, "It's all over the map." But it's rarely used been more truthfully or appropriately than when applied to Protegid, the third album by vocalist Carmen Souza, born in Lisbon, of Cape Verdean descent, and now residing in London. Singing in a colorful, eclectic Portuguese-based Creole, Souza illuminates, stretches, and snaps back the elastic connections between Latin, African and Arabic music, American jazz and the music of Cape Verde.
Souza conclusively proves that the "world music" evolution/revolution has transformed modern vocal as well as instrumental music. This transformative power breathes new life into the most famous song written by Cape Verdes' most famous native musician, "Song for My Father" by Horace Silver. Her new "Song"more than mere rearrangementtosses together a Latin shuffle from piano and percussion that keeps the original's rhythm rocking, with her vocal softly tracing the padded steps of her electric keyboard solo. "I came to discover that the songs that people sang in the fields on Cape Verde have the same pentatonic scale identified with the blues," she marvels.
Souza's half-spoken, half-sung introduction, and subsequent verses, to "Dos Eternidade (Two Eternities)" suggest Nina Simone pattering in French surrounded by a carnival of steel drums, a scene that abruptly shifts into jazz piano backed by percolating congas, jingling bells, and whistles. "Tente Midj" jumps out of this production, stewing percussion, acoustic guitar, and vocals together with jackrabbit accordion until thoroughly blended and steaming hot. The piano chords and horn chart of "Kem e Bo (Who Are You)" turn toward yet another time and place, the studied jazz-pop cool of Steely Dan. Unified with fretless bass, piano and percussion, her closing vocal to "Magia ca tem (Passionless)" even seems to whisper the same rarified breath as Flora Purim from Purim's magical tenure in Return to Forever.
"Afri Ka" and "D'xam ess moment (Worthwhile)" erupt with the wondrously inexplicable joy of vibrant, sunny African rhythms, teased and played out by Souza's vocal, sighing and flying, mewing and cooing, and very much sounding like a prowling cat.
Track Listing: M'sta Li Ma Bo (I'm Here for You); Afri Ka; Dos Eternidade (Two Eternities); Tente Midj; Protegid (Protected); D'xam ess moment (Worthwhile); Sodade; Song for My Father; Kem e Bo (Who Are You?); Magia ca tem (Passionless); Decision (Decision); Mara Marga (Bitter Mara).
Personnel: Carmen Souza: vocals, acoustic guitar, Fender Rhodes; Theo Pas'cal: acoustic bass, double bass, double bass bow, udo, cajon, snare timbales, brushes effects, skin percussion, traditional reco, traditional Agogos, backing vocals, wood and shakers, metal percussion, acoustic steel guitar, marimbas, kisange; Omar Sosa: acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes; Jonathan Idiagbonya: acoustic piano; Claudio Cesar Lima Ribeiro: solo nylon guitar; Tiago Santos: nylon guitar; Pedro Segundo: drums, percussion, kaxixe; Zoe Pas'cal: Funana rhythm, percussion; Sebastian Sheriff: bongos, cajon, timbales, kaxixes, congas, batas, vibraslap, cabaca, guiro, cowbells; Derek Johnson: nylon guitar; Marc Berthoumieux: accordion; Joao Frade: accordion; Victor Samora: acoustic piano; Rick Lazar: cebolo, cajita, shaker, triangle, pandeiro; Lars Arens: trombone, euphonium, horn section arrangement; Miguel Goncalves: trumpet, flugelhorn; Johannes Krieger: trumpet, flugelhorn; Ze Maria: tenor saxophone, alto saxophone; Luis Cunha: trombone, euphonium; Adel Salameh: oud; Naziha Azzouz: vocals.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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