By Danny R. Johnson – Jazz and Pop Music Critic
DIZZY’S CLUB COCA-COLA- NEW YORK CITY – The Trio da Paz, the Brazilian jazz group formed in 1986 consisting of Romero Lubambo on guitar, Nilson Matta on bass and Duduka da Fonseca on drums, are celebrating 31 years of Trio da Paz with a festive celebration of Brazilian music at Dizzy’s Coca-Cola Club in New York City, August 15-20, 22-27, 2017. The group featured guest performers Maucha Adnet (vocalist), Harry Allen (sax), and Claudio Roditi (trumpet/flugelhornist). Trio da Paz updates its infectious spirit of jazz-oriented Brazilian music by redefining Brazilian Jazz with their harmonically adventurous interactions, daring improvisations and dazzling rhythms, as demonstrated in the August 20 show.
When jazz came to Brazil, it met an established tradition of improvised music in which many styles and cultural traditions were mixed. But central to all the music of Brazil is the nylonstrung classical guitar, played with the fingers. And no one personified that tradition better than Romero Lubambo.
On display at Dizzy’s Club was to see masters of the Latin music world performing at its best. Lubambo is just one of the many in the line of Brazilian guitarists who owes much to the righthand techniques of that instrument in playing right-hand fingerstyle, not pick playing.
The thing that distinguished Trio da Paz and the guest musicians who accompanied them was the undeniable lyricism, which was unfailing even at breakneck tempos, was the sound, a paradoxical blend of light and heavy. With their rigid embouchure and slightly aspirate sonority, Trio da Paz produced a breezy tone backed by heroic force.
Brazilian music is often criticized for lacking female singers who are authentic and who can sing a melody true to the native tongue of the homeland. While there is some justice to the charge, especially when it comes to the male singers, an easy two-worded rebuttal lies with Maucha Adnet. There is a strong argument that the 1990s were the best years ever for Brazilian women singers. Younger singers such as Belo Velloso, Bebel Gilberto and Silva Torres had emerged, but head and shoulders among them all was and still is the extraordinary talent and voice of Maucha Adnet.
Adnet inspires respect for her tightly controlled interpretations of Brazilian standards. Her performances of several selections with the ensemble from the opening bars, Adnet’s voice wraps itself around the melody like a cat, swinging around the beat with perfect pitch and timing, and letting herself go at the end of the song before bringing it to a perfect stop. It was apparent to all in the standing-room only club how far ahead she is of anyone of her generation of Brazilian singers.
The evening performance revealed Trio da Paz’s great talent in arrangement and producing materials which allowed saxophonist Harry Allen and Claudio Roditi to interplay with each other and not get lost in the musically improvised shuffle.
Overall, the musicians did an admirable job in playing tribute to the extraordinary Antonio Carlos Jobim and the incomparable Stan Getz. Trio da Paz did a great job in arranging each of the guest performer’s selections and with perfect timing, played by top quality artists with not a note out of place.