Oct 08 2008

Raul de Souza: Bossa Eterna

A No-Nonsense Celebration


Bossa Eterna

During 2008 many Bossa Nova loving musicians took the opportunity to record or perform their favourite music style in honour of its 50th birthday. Also trombonist Raul de Souza can be added to that list. However, this album sounds as if its dedication came after recording the music. The music is very pure and most of all performed with a total lack of misplaced snobbism that sometimes characterizes such occasions of celebration. Raul de Souza and his companions were there when Bossa Nova blossomed and they spent their further lives playing some of the finest bossa. That’s exactly their trump card for this tribute album.

João José Pereira de Souza (1934, Rio de Janeiro) plays the trombone since he was 16 years old. In 1965 he moved to Mexico where he teamed up on a tour with Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. His next station was Boston where he studied at Berklee before travelling on to Los Angeles. He performed with many big names in American jazz and fusion and also stayed connected with his Brazilian roots by performing a wide range of music from Brazil’s greatest composers. Along the way he invented his own version of the trombone, the souzabone (an electric trombone in C with four — instead of three — chromatic valves) and also picked up playing saxophone (tenor and alto). Since the late 1990’s he resides in Paris, France, but often flies over to Brazil for countless recording and concert dates, also for his own albums.

João Donato

For this session Raul de Souza happily invited some of his best friends to form an amazing all star quartet. First of all there is the legendary pianist João Donato (1934, Rio Branco, Acre) who was among the bossa innovators. There aren’t too many recordings that join Raul and João together. One that comes to mind is the cd João Donato recorded with Eloir de Moraes (Café com Pão, 1997) on which Raul guests on tenor sax and trombone. The other half of the quartet is formed by bassist Luiz Alves and drummer Robertinho Silva, both Rio natives who have a rich history in Brazilian instrumental music. So it’s no surprise that what we hear on Bossa Eterna is nothing less than fantastic. It sounds like the musicians have been playing together forever.

The music flows naturally from the minds of the artists, so now and then flirting with samba and jazz, just the way Bossa Nova loves it most. For the repertoire Raul de Souza chose three of his own compositions (two on which he plays his souzabone, “A la Donato” and “Pingo d’Água”) and seven compositions by some of Brazil’s more illustrious composers (on which Raul plays the slide trombone). Maurício Einhorn (harmonica) has a guest appearance on “Nuvens,” which Einhorn wrote with Durval Ferreira. It’s good to hear João Donato in good shape, as always, playing in his recognizable style. “Lugar Comum,” which Donato wrote with Gilberto Gil, stands out as a Donato masterpiece on this record.

This is a decent album that will appeal to all fans from that friendly and entertaining Bossa Nova music style, but also lovers of good straight jazz will find joy in listening to this cd.Raul de Souza



Raul de Souza
Bossa Eterna
Biscoito Fino BF847 (2008)
Time: 42’58”


  1. Bossa Eterna (Raul De Souza)
  2. Só Por Amor (Baden Powell – Vinícius de Moraes)
  3. Fim de Sonho (João Donato – João Carlos Pádua)
  4. Balanço Zona Sul (Tito Madi)
  5. A La Donato (Raul De Souza)
  6. Malandro (João Donato)
  7. Nuvens (Maurício Einhorn – Durval Ferreira)
  8. Lugar Comum (João Donato – Gilberto Gil)
  9. Pingo d´Água (Raul De Souza)
  10. Bonita (Tom Jobim)