Aug 05 2017

The Richard Sorce Project: Samba Para a Vida

Samba Is Life

Samba Para a VidaComposer, pianist and arranger Richard Sorce has demonstrated a long-standing closeness to Brazilian music. His two previous albums, A Place I’ve Never Been and Closer Than Before already showcased his connection to Brazil in some tracks. Now, his third and brand new release delves deeper into the Brazilian repertoire with fifteen original songs, seven of which are beautifully interpreted by São Paulo-born Iara Negrete. Although on the album cover the subtitle “Original Latin Jazz” is present, do not fool yourself into not thinking this is Brazilian. Of course, with the introduction of vocals in Portuguese, this is a good advance in Richard Sorce’s music.

Richard Sorce has been on the faculty at Ramapo College and William Paterson University (New Jersey) since 1999. He holds a Ph.D. in music theory and composition from New York University, and is currently based in New York City. For Samba para a Vida, Sorce has surrounded himself with high caliber musicians. His band is competent and delivers his sambas, ballads and bossas with great ability. Besides playing the piano and writing all songs in the album, Sorce also did the arrangements. His band is skilled and comprised of Sue Wiliams (bass), Don Giunta (drums), Dave Yee (percussion), Rob Reich (guitar) Mark Friedman (alto sax, flute), Fred Maxwell (trumpet, flugelhorn), Brian Bonvissuto (trombone), and he introduces the beautiful voice of Iara Negrete.

Iara NegreteIara Negrete hails from São Paulo and grew up in a musical family (her father a classical guitarist). She mentions her performance style receives influences from pop to jazz singers including Sarah Vaughan, Diane Schuur, Elis Regina, Leny Andrade, Stevie Wonder and others. She also has two solo albums released in Brazil and the foreign market. She possesses a clear timbre and precise enunciation. and she delivers the music presented here with gusto. Incidentally, she is also behind the Portuguese lyric translations.

The music in the album is lively and performed in a style that Sorce calls “reminiscent of the Brazilian style of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.” He is, of course, referring to the spontaneity of Brazilian music from that era. He is one of those Brazilian music lovers touched and influenced by that music.

The beautiful opener,”Escrito no Vento,” has a gentle introduction leading into a slow samba sung by Iara Negrete. It is a strong introduction to her vocals in the album. The next track is a touching bossa with lyrics retelling the story of how two people meet and turn a fantasy into a lifetime jouney. The lyrics say “we’ll find that place no one has heard of, that place, imagined long ago.” Solos by Mark Friedman on flute and Fred Maxwell on flugelhorn are heavenly. Together with Negrete’s vocals, this song soars in its beauty. The title track, “Samba para a Vida,” is a lively instrumental samba in the same style as other effusive compositions, such as “A Chama” and “Another Day in Paradise.” In contrast with those, soft ballads, such as “Forever Again” and “No One Else but You” provide the album a nice melodic balance and strong listener appeal.

You can read more about the artist in his own web site, which includes track samples. Vocalist Iara Negrete also has a dedicated site to her art (site is in Portuguese). Both are worth checking, and so is Samba Para a Vida.



The Richard Sorce Project
Samba Para a Vida
EverJazz Records (2017)
Time: 72’00”

Tracks (all music by Richard Sorce):

  1. Escrito no Vento
  2. Antes de te Conhecer
  3. Samba para a Vida
  4. Forever Again
  5. Cante
  6. A Chama
  7. Dança do Sol
  8. Say it Softly
  9. Seu Olhar
  10. Once More
  11. Me Deixa Perto
  12. Another Day in Paradise
  13. Vozes
  14. It’s Always New
  15. No One Else But You