Duos II (Sunnyside Records)

Luciana Souza 

Released May 24, 2005

Grammy Nominee for Best Jazz Vocal Album 2006






Since recording Brazilian Duos in 2000, I have spent much time thinking about the tradition of voice and guitar in Brazilian music. It has become clear to me how well the guitar can represent all of the elements of this music: the rich harmonies, the strong melodic content, the percussiveness, the varied rhythms and diverse styles.
For this new collaboration, I invited back Romero Lubambo —a great creative partner who has been performing live with me for many years now— and also Marco Pereira, who remains one of my favorite musicians. My admiration of Swami Jr.’s true Brazilian style is justified on the two tracks he performs on, and Guilherme Monteiro is a wonderful young, modern player who lives in New York. They all bring something new and unique to the voice and guitar tradition, and I am immensely grateful for their generous contributions…In all of my recordings I try to capture the moment –the actual live performance given by me and my collaborators. This is particularly true for these sessions, where each guitarist and I set up in the same room, facing each other, only a few feet apart. I hope our commitment to the jazz spirit comes through in these sambas.
Luciana Souza 

Track Listing:

1. Sai Dessa (Nathan Marques / Ana Terra) featuring Romero Lubambo 3:03

2. Nos Horizontes Do Mundo (Paulinho da Viola) 4:03

3. A Flor E O Espinho/Juízo Final (Nelson Cavaquinho / Guilherme DeBrito) 4:49

4. Muita Bobeira (Luciana Souza) featuring Romero Lubambo 2:52

5. Modinha (Antônio Carlos Jobim / Vinícius de Moraes) featuring Marco Pereira 3:33

6. No Carnaval/Vento (Toninho Horta / Caetano Veloso) featuring Guilherme Monteiro 4:29

7. Sambadalú (Para Luciana Souza) (Marco Pereira) featuring Marco Pereira 3:51

8. Aparecida (Ivan Lins) featuring Romero Lubambo 5:52

9. Trocando Em Miúdos (Chico Buarque / Francis Hime) featuring Romero Lubambo 5:45

10. Chorinho Prá Ele (Hermeto Pascoal) featuring Romero Lubambo 2:56

11. Atrás da Porta (Chico Buarque / Francis Hime) featuring Marco Pereira 2:48

12. Você (Walter Santos / Tereza Souza) featuring Guilherme Monteiro 3:35


Luciana Souza: vocals

Guilherme Monteiro: guitar (6, 12)

Marco Pereira: guitar (5, 7, 11)

Romero Lubambo: guitar (1, 4, 8, 9, 10)

Swami Jr.: guitar (2, 3)

Recorded January – February, 2005, at Avatar Studios, New York, NY; Nossoestudio Som E Imagem, Sao Paolo, Brazil

Producer: Luciana Souza

Recording and Mixing: James Farber

Engineer: Carlos Freitas

Assistant Engineer: Daniel Arroyo

Mastering: A.T. Michael MacDonald

Photography: Bob Wolfenson

Art Direction: Kiko Farkas

Executive Producer: François Zalacain


Luciana Souza’s first recording of voice/guitar duets (Brazilian Duos, Suunyside 2002), was nominated for a Grammy. Her latest, Duos II, is similar in format and content; I checked my earlier review and a few glowing assessments still apply—words like “wit,” “intelligence,” “swing,” and “poignancy.” The music is still intimate and immediate (it’s live), the liners again unusually informative, and the guitarists equally superb (Lubambo and Pereira return, while Swami Jr. and Guilherme Monteiro are new). Guitars include classical, seven-string, and a dreamy Gibson electric on the last track.
Duos II continues Souza’s guided tour of Brazilian music, as varied and fascinating as the country itself. There are sambas and choros and ballads, songs written by and for Souza, two associated with the great singer Elis Regina, and work from maestros Ivan Lins, Caetano Veloso, Tom Jobim, Paulinho da Viola, Hermeto Pascoal, and Chico Buarque. The mood goes from jubilation to anguish with everything in between, all of it smoothly paced, with no jolts or startles. And once again, you need know no Portuguese to understand what’s being expressed; on her first hearing of this “Modinha,” one of Jobim’s most achingly beautiful melodies, a friend said, “I don’t know what the words mean, but I want to cry.”

One difference between the two recordings—at least to these ears—is that Souza’s voice sounds even better on Duos II: stronger, purer, and with a touch more vibrato that adds a lingering, sweet texture to her lines. Since the guitars also sound a bit crisper, perhaps it’s the studio? Seven tracks were recorded at New York’s Avatar Studios, long famous for its clarity and warmth. Souza’s imaginative and tuneful scatting demonstrates her artful blending of jazz and Brazilian sensibilities. This music feels both intimate and universal; alternately danceable and thoughtful, often moving and consistently artistic, Duos II is thoroughly satisfying.

Dr. Judith Schlesinger (All About Jazz)