A new Trio da Paz album is always something to enjoy. After a three-year gap since its last albums — Café and Canta Brasil were both released in 2002 — the trio went back in the studio to record yet another fine album, just like previous Trio da Paz releases. Taking full control of production and arrangements, Trio da Paz chose an eclectic repertoire covering classics from Brazil and the U.S. In addition to the beautiful music, the album cover displays the serene artwork by Gail E. McElhaney Fester. It is just an extra touch, but one that evidences the meticulous care put into this excellent production.
Part of the idea for the repertoire in Somewhere came from the folks in Blue Toucan Music, as explained in the liner notes. The new label suggested that the Trio should record new material as well as other previously recorded tracks. This well balanced approach certainly worked like a charm, especially since some of the new material received a complete facelift imprinted with the Trio’s artistic talents. For example, the U.S. standards “Seven Steps to Heaven,” “Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead,” “Take Five” and the title track “Somewhere” bring a fresh approach to those melodies. It is quite amazing to hear sounds of Milton Nascimento’s Clube da Esquina in the arrangement for “Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead.” Even the more contemporary “Winelight” is transformed with a great Brazilian beat. Lubambo’s soft guitar solo is captivating. Fonseca’s downright Bossa Nova drumming and Matta’s rich acoustic bass lines complement this highly pleasing track. What is to say about “Take Five”? Desmond classic melody is vibrant and entrancing with the Trio’s arrangement. In fact, the arrangement here is very similar to the one Lubambo used in his wife Pamela Driggs’s Itacuruçá 2002 album. Here, without Driggs’s voice, Lubambo’s guitar reigns all over the track.
As for the Brazilian tracks featured in Somewhere, the Trio spared no surprises. In addition to recording two Baden Powell — “Babel (Samba Novo)” and “O Astronauta” — and two Antônio Carlos Jobim — “Look to the Sky” and “Corcovado” — classics, there are also other pleasant surprises. One of my favorite Brazilian jazz groups is Azymuth. So, my excitement in seeing their hit “Partido Alto” included here was only matched by the incredible performance the Trio gave. It is especially rewarding to hear an entirely acoustic version of that track. The biggest surprise, however, was the Trio’s own rendition of the Brazilian National Anthem. That is arguably the very first jazz recording of such a beautiful and moving melody. Upon hearing that track, one clearly understands why Duduka da Fonseca had teary eyes when finishing that recording. The proper reverence required to present such work was one of Trio da Paz’s finest moments.
Somewhere is yet another excellent album by Trio da Paz. Lubambo, Fonseca and Matta continue invigorating Brazilian and World music their artistic minds and musical abilities. Once you get this album, you will want to take it everywhere you go.
Trio da Paz
Blue Toucan Music BTM05 (2005)
- Seven Steps to Heaven (V. Feldman – Miles Davis – M.J. Savage)
- Partido Alto (José Bertrami – Alexandre Malheiros)
- Look to the Sky (Antônio Carlos Jobim)
- Babel (Samba Novo) (Baden Powell)
- Winelight (William H. Eaton, Jr.)
- Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead (Harold Arlen – E.Y. Harburg)
- Brazilian National Anthem (Francisco Manuel da Silva)
- Take Five (Paul Desmond)
- Batida Diferente (Durval Ferreira – Maurício Einhorn)
- O Astronauta (Baden Powell)
- Somewhere (Leonard Bernstein – Stephen Sondheim)
- Loro (Egberto Gismonti)
- Corcovado (Antônio Carlos Jobim)