Oct 01 2016

Raul de Souza: Brazilian Samba Jazz


Brazilian Samba JazzThe picture that decorates the cover of Raul de Souza’s most recent album, shows the trombonist on the stairs of Rua Manuel Carneiro, the street that connects Rio’s Santa Teresa and Lapa neighborhoods. The 215 steps of the stairs (Escadaria Selaron) are covered with tiles and ceramics from all over the world. It very well connects with the music of João José Pereira de Souza (August 23, 1934; Rio de Janeiro). The trombonist/composer is a man of the world. On a personal note I was already attracted to the artist when I first heard him on Airto’s groundbreaking album Identity, introducing me to the richness of Brazilian music way back in the 1970s. He was among the first to record an instrumental album in Brazil, Turma da Gafieira (1955) with Baden Powell and Sivuca (a.o.).

So this new Brazilian Samba Jazz marks Raul’s 60 years as recording artist. At age 81 (the album was recorded in December 2015) the master musician still sounds great! The ten tracks on the album are all composed by him. Since he lives in France and Brazil, Raul decided to be accompanied by musicians from both countries. Young instrumentalists from Brazil like Leo Montana (piano), Glauco Solter (bass) and Mauro Martins and Zaza Desiderio (drums). From France, Julien Lallier (piano) is featured on three tracks. And then there are guest appearances by guitarist Mario Conde and harmonica player Gabriel Grossi.

Raul de SouzaAs the album’s title suggests, the music is indeed Brazilian Samba Jazz. As no one else, Raul de Souza created his own sound and style during his long career. He didn’t forget the time he lived in the USA. The best school to develop jazz skills. The album closes with a wonderful tribute to the late great jazz trombone player JJ Johnson (1924-2001). Another trombonist he pays tribute to is Frank Rosolino (1926-1978), “Saudade do Frank.”

It’s all about jazz and samba for Raul de Souza, the way we prefer to hear this master on the trombone. This album shows he doesn’t stop creating the music he loves so much. And after listening to Brazilian Samba Jazz, let’s hope he doesn’t even think about stopping!



Raul de Souza
Brazilian Samba Jazz
Encore Merci 001483 (2016)
Time: 47’05”

Tracks (all compositions by Raul de Souza):

  1. Bossa Eterna
  2. Rio Loco
  3. Brazilian Samba Jazz
  4. Descendo da Mangueira
  5. Saudade do Frank
  6. Violão Quebrado
  7. Ilha do Mel
  8. Luminosa Manhã
  9. Oito e Meia
  10. Amigo JJ