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Romero Lubambo & Rafael Piccolotto Chamber Orchestra: Live at Dizzy’s Lincoln Center New York City (Sunnyside)

A review of the acoustic and electric guitarist's collaborative album with the chamber-jazz orchestra

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Romero Lubambo & Rafael Piccolotto Chamber Orchestra: Live at Dizzy’s Lincoln Center New York City
The cover of Live at Dizzy’s Lincoln Center New York City by Romero Lubambo & Rafael Piccolotto Chamber Orchestra

One of the most attractive elements of Romero Lubambo’s guitar work is the dynamic interplay he creates between subtlety and fervor. In a single solo, the Brazilian might shift seamlessly from tiptoeing through a crystalline, pin-drop phrase to letting it all hang out via a ferocious run, ever mindful of the setting in which he finds himself.

For this live recording, cut at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in 2019, Lubambo fulfilled a long-held dream of collaborating with a chamber-jazz orchestra, an expanded environment that would require him to make allowances for more sound in general and more volume specifically. Making every note audible in a trio or quartet is one thing, but here he would be surrounded by a full rhythm section (with electric bass), piano, and accordion and a full slate of string, brass, and woodwind musicians. Teaming with composer/arranger Rafael Piccolotto De Lima, a fellow Brazilian (as are several of the players), Lubambo set about reworking several of his own compositions, one of Piccolotto’s, and a few covers (including a galloping “Route 66,” sung with sass by Pamela Driggs).

Lubambo’s own contributions on both acoustic and electric guitar are, to no great surprise, sublime. He is a master of nuance and resourcefulness: Whether on the slammin’ “Frevo Camarada,” which tag-teams his lightning electric licks with Victor Gonçalves’ accordion, pianist Helio Alves and Hadar Noiberg’s flute, or the considerably quieter ballad “Paquito in Bremen,” Lubambo is well aware of both the strength of the larger ensemble and the valuable place he holds at its center.

If you haven’t had the chance to go out and experience live music in a while, Live at Dizzy’s is the kind of recording that will make you want to do that much sooner.


Learn more about Live at Dizzy’s Lincoln Center New York City on Amazon & Bandcamp!

Romero Lubambo: For the Love of Jazz…

Jeff Tamarkin

Jeff Tamarkin on social media

Jeff Tamarkin is the former editor of Goldmine, CMJ, Relix, and Global Rhythm. As a writer he has contributed to the New York Daily News, JazzTimes, Boston Phoenix, Harp, Mojo, Newsday, Billboard, and many other publications. He is the author of the book Got a Revolution: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane and has contributed to The Guinness Companion to Popular Music, All Music Guide, and several other encyclopedias. He has also served as a consultant to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, NARAS, National Geographic Online, and Music Club Records.