Featuring three of Brazil's most in-demand musicians, Trio da Paz redefines Brazilian jazz with its harmonically adventurous interactions, daring improvisations, and dazzling rhythms. Joined by tenor saxophonist Harry Allen, vibraphonist Joe Locke, and vocalist Maucha Adnet, the group brings its infectious spirit to Carnegie Hall for a program that features the works of famed Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Jobim and American tenor saxophone giant Stan Getz on Saturday, April 5.
It’s difficult today to comprehend the extraordinary mainstream popularity
enjoyed by Brazilian music in the United States—particularly the swaying
bossa nova sound introduced to American ears by the saxophone of Stan Getz
and the melodies of Antônio Carlos Jobim—during the early 1960s. Fusing
seductive samba-based rhythms with the harmonic structures, lyrical
melodicism, and improvisatory inventions of jazz, Getz and guitarist Charlie
Byrd reached the top of the US charts in 1962 with their collaborative album
Jazz Samba, while a single from that collection, “Desafinado,” its music
penned by Jobim, was also a massive success. Two years later, Getz—this time
teaming with guitarist João Gilberto—released what would become one of the
all-time best-selling jazz albums, Getz/Gilberto. The beloved set won the
Album of the Year Grammy and spawned the now-classic single “The Girlfrom Ipanema,” sung by Brazil’s Astrud Gilberto and again co-penned by
Half a century later, jazz artists as well as musicians working within other
genres are no less in love with the music of Brazil. Bossa nova may no longer
rule the pop charts, but artists both from Brazil and the rest of the world are
still captivated by its breezy rhythms and beguiling romantic melodies, while
other modern forms of Brazilian music continue to infatuate. Trio da Paz—
guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Nilson Matta, and drummer Duduka da
Fonseca—draw upon the rich panoply of Brazilian styles individually and
collectively in their music. It’s a formula that remains exciting and fresh even
as countless other styles of music have come and gone.
Each member of Trio da Paz boasts a constantly busy schedule: Lubambo,
who recently released a solo album, SÓ: Brazilian Essence, has worked with
vocalists such as Dianne Reeves and Luciana Souza; Matta’s credits include
Joe Henderson and Yo-Yo Ma; and da Fonseca has led his own bands and also
accompanied Claudio Roditi, Astrud Gilberto, and Jobim himself. Since the
mid-1980s, the three Brazilian natives have played together as schedules
permit; Trio da Paz became an official entity in 1990, releasing five albums to
date. “We speak the same language,” Matta once said, explaining their affinity
for one another.
Jobim once declared, “I’d rather be eternal than modern.” If he were still
around to hear Trio da Paz interpreting the music that he and Stan Getz gave
the world, he would undoubtedly agree that it’s entirely possible to be both.
© 2014 The Carnegie Hall Corporation
Jeff Tamarkin is the associate editor of JazzTimes magazine.