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Trio da Paz: Jobim and Getz

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 Jobim.

Trio da Paz QuoteHalf 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.