Rhythm for the Soul
When I heard Recipe for Rhythm for the first time, I was surprised by Simas’s new album. Not only was he presenting a totally different sound — and I am not referring to the fact that he sings in this release — but he was also successfully achieving his proposition of “making good music,” as he expressed to me in a recent conversation we had. He takes advantage of the moment he currently lives and transforms it in a musical extravaganza of pop songs. What comes out of that is his Recipe for Rhythm, the most befitting title for his collection of 11 danceable songs. Simas is responsible for the music, and Ellen Schwartz adds the English lyrics to most songs. With the help of musicians like Romero Lubambo, Ricky Sebastian and Sérgio Brandão, Luiz Simas cooks up a delicious musical menu.
“Sugar Reef” is a strong opening track. This Caribbean-flavored samba brings a peaceful breeze to romance and laughter. A city boy is struck by the power evoked by an island girl.
The sea, the sun, the breezes and your imagination lead you to romance. The romance thread continues in “You Never Know.” Love can appear just about anywhere, and you will never know just when. “Love blooms in any season,” the lyrics say. Simas’ soothing voice, a constant in all tracks, and Romero Lubambo’s guitar solo here make this samba one of the best tracks in Recipe.
The poetry in Ellen Schwartz’s verses is a very strong asset to Simas’s melodies. It is an integral part of a perfect match one expects in any good song. In a meditative tone, “If She Asks Him” exemplifies just how music and lyrics complement each other. Bob Kindred’s sax solo adds to the romantic setting of this ballad. The title track, “Recipe for Rhythm”, pays homage to the many rhythms that have fascinated musicians everywhere. From the Gulf of Mexico down to Patagonia, in Argentina, the rhythm we hear is the uniting force of different cultures. Bossa-nova influenced songs, such as “Maybe,” are spiced up by Simas’s piano and Lubambo’s guitar solos. Just before the last track is played, Simas brings one more surprise, “Another Cloudy Day.” This is a slow ballad with a strong jazz flavor. It is the kind of song you will hear a 2 AM in a bar, and it will haunt you the rest of the week.
Luiz Simas has definitely found the recipe for a string of hits with this release. As with a line in “Recipe for Rhythm,” this CD has got the “rhythm to feed the soul.” Luiz Simas shows how versatile he can be. More importantly, he proves what a versatile artist he is with Recipe for Rhythm.
To learn more about the artist and hear sample tracks, please visit Luiz Simas on the web.
Recipe for Rhythm
Lydjul Records LS0001CD (1998)
All music by Luiz Simas and Ellen Schwartz, except where noted.
- Sugar Reef
- You Never Know
- If She Asks Him
- Recipe for Rhythm
- Ember in the Dark
- Wake up
- The Song of the Siren
- Vai-e-Vém (Luiz Simas)
- Another Cloudy Day
- For Ever (Luiz Simas)
A modified version of this review first appeared in Luna Kafé in May1998.