An evening of Brazilian jazz
Satalla, The Temple of World Music
37 W. 26th Street, NYC
November 22, 2003, 8pm
The performance began with drummer Duduka da Fonseca announcing the Trio da Paz with bassist Nilson Matta and guitarist Romero Lubambo, who was on a high stool where the pianist would be seated.
Dorival Caymmi's “Ceded Da Bahia,” a musical description of the historic capital of Brazil, was complex, changing, full of rhythms – and the first opportunity for Mr. Fonseca to appear to keep up with Mr. Lubambo as they traded fours, but not exactly traded. When Romero paused, he obviously excited the drummer, who looked ecstatic at each opportunity.
Beginning almost inaudibly on the lowest strings of his guitar, Romero Lubambo played the repetitive melody of his tune for his father, “Pro Flavio,” accented by Duduka Fonseca’s wood block and multiple cymbals, imitating many rainforest sounds. That drew my attention to the bandstand's colorful orange backdrop painted with iridescent designs, “Santella” in script boldly illuminated with black-light almost to the point of distraction although, coincidentally, Romero’s orange vertical-striped shirt blended well with the wall art. The other gents wore black, allowing only their distinguished facial features full expression. Many in the audience acknowledged recognition as Romero began “A Day in the Life of a Fool” (Manha de Carnaval) from Black Orpheus, best described as a delightful waltz-tempo samba.
Tonight’s added guest, Claudio Roditi, respectfully announced by Mr. Lubambo, joined in to play “Recife’s Blues” for a Brazilian friend. How gently he blew, softly in low trumpet tones, standing as if on one foot – then without warning trumpeted off, filling Santella’s space with a gorgeous brass sound without unnecessary reverberation. After a long solo Romero captured us with an equal display of virtuosity, standing, bending, rocking back and forth, smiling all the while. Matta attacked his bass with equal speed and dexterity before Roditi returned to set up fours for drums then guitar, before the finale.
“I wrote a blues for a town known as the Venice of Brazil, titled ‘The Monster of the Flower’ - last night!” – but even Claudio must read from his own sheet music. It started as a slow blues but was propelled forward by the trio in double or triple time until Claudio’s lovely descending flugelhorn run.
Trio Da Paz seems to always move forward: they play so well together and fill every empty space with rhythmic sound. “I enjoyed the fact that they were enjoying themselves as they played, without excluding us,” commented William Lipscomb, Smarttix’s exec, at the conclusion of the first one hour set. “The ambience is wonderful,” reported actress Cassandra Kassell, obviously overcome by the buzz of Satalla, “like iridescent sea creatures in a psychedelic world illuminated by black lights. I wish I had worn white so I could shine like the tonic in your drink," she whispered in my ear.
For more information on Satalla, visit www.satalla.com .