|Photo: National Sawdust|
For more information, go to www.sallesjazz.com.
Here's # "I":
Felipe Salles, composer and conductor
Jonathan Ball, alto and soprano saxes, flute, piccolo
Mike Caudill, tenor and soprano saxes, flute, clarinet, electronic effects
Rick DiMuzio, tenor sax, clarinet
Tyler Burchfield, bari sax, bass clarinet, clarinet
Jeff Holmes; Don Clough; Yuta Yamaguchi; Eric Smith, electronic effects; Doug Olsen
Clayton DeWalt; Randy Pingrey, Bulut Gülen, Angel Subero, bass trombone
Nando Michelin, piano
Kevin Grudecki, guitar
Ryan Fedak, vibraphone
Keala Kaumeheiwa, bass
Bertram Lehmann, drums, percussion
|Photo: Hiroyuki Masuro|
Give "Both Are True" the time to infiltrate your mind, take the time explore the melodies and how the sections move in and out, how the soloists use their time in front so intelligently, and the seeming infinite colors the Webber/Morris Big Band creates. This music lives, breathes, and, in the long run, lifts one higher.
For more information, go to angelamorrismusic.com/bigband/.
Here's the opening track:
Angela Morris: conductor, tenor saxophone, flute
Anna Webber: conductor, tenor saxophone, flute
Jay Rattman: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute
Charlotte Greve: alto saxophone, clarinet
Adam Schneit: tenor saxophone, clarinet
Lisa Parrott: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet
John Lake: trumpet, flugelhorn
Jake Henry: trumpet, flugelhorn
Adam O’Farrill: trumpet, flugelhorn
Kenny Warren: trumpet, flugelhorn
Tim Vaughn: trombone
Nick Grinder: trombone
Jen Baker: trombone
Reginald Chapman: bass trombone
Patricia Brennan: vibraphone
Dustin Carlson: guitar
Marc Hannaford: piano
Adam Hopkins: bass
Jeff Davis: drums
By this time, you should know the name and the voice of Luciana Souza. Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Ms. Souza actually began her career at the age of three (!) when she recorded a radio jingle. She was quite busy in the advertising world through her middle-teens and soon moved into the world of entertainment. She came to the United States, studied and rtaught at the Berklee School, then earned a Master's Degree at The New England Conservatory of Music, and also taught at the Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Souza's list of recordings is impressive, not only for the 12 releases under her own name (most on the Sunnyside label) but also for her collaborations with artists such as The Yellowjackets, Ryan Truesdell Gil Evans Centennial Orchestra, Bobby McFerrin, the vocal quartet MOSS, Herbie Hancock, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, and more.
Among the "more" is composer-arranger Vince Mendoza––she appears on his 2011 album "Nights On Earth." In 2017, Ms. Souza and Maestro/ arranger Mendoza joined forces with the WDR Big Band Köln for "Storytellers" (Sunnyside), an album and concert celebrating great Brazilian songwriters. Over the course of the 10-song program, one hears music from Ivan Lines, Edu Lobo & Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Djavan, Guinga, Chico Pinheiro & Tiago Costa pone piece each from Ms. Souza, Mr. Mendoza as well as two pieces from Antonio Carlos Jobim. In the liner notes, the singer writes “Matita Perê” is at the center of this recording. It is Jobim’s tribute to the vast and relentless presence of nature in Brazil". Composed in 1972 at a time when Brazil was going through martial law, censorship, and the Right Wing's consolidation of power, the piece celebrates the greatness of the country and its vast ecological power––while the lyrics are quite abstract, the music is extremely powerful (too bad there is no English translation in the liner notes).
The album moves between lovely ballads, such as Lobo/Buarque's stunning "Beatriz" (with a melody that invokes Stephen Sondheim) and delightful uptempo songs such Lins's "Se Acontecer" (whose tempo suggest Steely Dan circa "Royal Scam" and "Aja"). Mendoza's arrangements utilize the Big Band in intelligent fashion, with the brass and reeds often shadowing the voice, doubling her wordless vocals (as they do on his "Choro #3" which includes a delightful clarinet solo from Johan Hörlen as well as a dancing spot from trombonist Andy Hunter); the band gets to swing and float––check out Ms. Souza's "Baiäo" and how the rhythm sections buoys the flutes while the brass connect with the wordless vocal.
|Photo: Kim Fox|
The other Jobim tune, "Choro Coração", is such a gentle piece. Besides the lovely vocal, Karolina Strassmeyer contributes an emotionally rich alto saxophone solo which is followed by a handsome muted trumpet solo courtesy of John Marshall. Pay attention to how gentle the rhythm section is, especially pianist Rainier Böhm, bassist John Goldsby, and drummer Hans Dekker; smooth but ever-so-enchanting.
"Storytellers" closes with the elegant "Sim ou Näo" (Djavan) where one hears Ms. Souza's voice joined by multiple flutes and supportive brass. There's a fine flugelhorn from Ruud Bruels and such a gentle sway from the rhythm section that one finds it quite easy to fall under the spell of this special music. Luciana Souza, Vince Mendoza, and the WDR Big Band Köln are a perfect match and this album is joyful listening in many different ways. Don't miss this recording!
For more information about the vocalist, go to www.lucianasouza.com. For the WDRBB, go to www1.wdr.de/orchester-und-chor/bigband/ (it's all in German). For Vince Mendoza, go to vincemendoza.net.
Luciana Souza - vocals
Vince Mendoza - producer, arranger & conductor
WDR Big Band Köln:
Johan Hörlen - saxophone
Karolina Strassmayer - saxophone
Olivier Peters - saxophone
Paul Heller - saxophone
Jens Neufang - saxophone
Stefan Karl Schmid - saxophone
Wim Both - trumpet
Rob Bruynen - trumpet
Andy Haderer - trumpet
Ruud Breuls - trumpet
John Marshall - trumpet
Bastian Stein - trumpet
Ludwig Nuss - trombone
Shannon Barnett - trombone
Andy Hunter - trombone
Mattis Cederberg - tuba
Paul Shigihara - guitar
John Goldsby - bass
Rainer Böhm - piano
Hans Dekker - drums
Marcio Doctor - percussion