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Luciana Souza: An Answer to Your Silence

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With a synergistic team, multi-talented vocalist-composer Luciana Souza delivers 11 originals and standards that shimmer with energy, excitement and innovation. Souza’s liberated, impressionistic style rivals that of modern Brazilian-jazz vocal masters Elis Regina, Joyce, Milton Nascimento and others, yet she’s no mere copycat.

Brazilian-born Souza began performing as a youngster under tutelage of her father, bossa nova expert Walter Santos. She later attended Berklee, earned a master’s in jazz studies at the New England Conservatory and eventually relocated to shake up the New York scene. During the 1990s, she chalked up recordings with Danilo Perez, Ben Sher, Fernando Huergo and other leaders.

Souza excels on splashy, uptempo sprees, most notably on her originals “Baio a Tempo,” “Muita Bobeira,” “Say No to You” and others. Her balanced bossa-jazz approach boasts inventive horn-like phrasing mixed in explosive and unexpected ways with fiery, imaginative improvs from pianist Dave Kikoski, drummer Ignacio Berroa and bassist John Lockwood. Expressive saxophonist George Garzone adds his streaming expertise to some tracks, and producer/drummer George Schuller appears once on this session where accompaniment is mightily more than backdrop for the singer.

There are moments when this assemblage performs with astounding unanimity, seemingly playing as one. Yet, stunning solos abound and when Souza creatively scats with free-flowing ease or tastefully shares the spotlight with Garzone, such as on the title tune, she grabs your full attention.