:: These reviews were originally published
:: in Daniella Thompson on Brazil.


Chamber jazz for a desert isle

Three killer duos and a crack trio
conquer the blahs with elegant swing.

Daniella Thompson

22 August 2003

These days are not the most conducive to disc reviewing. The stench of greed and stupidity pervades public and private institutions at the city, state, and national levels. Terrorism of the most reprehensibly naked sort is practiced by so-called “legitimate” governments (my own included). Endless bottlenecks on both physical and virtual highways make one long for the Middle Ages. Where can one find relief? A secluded spot by some imaginary beach—a place where one might forget the annoyances of daily life in this best of all worlds—is called for. That, and some elegant music to refresh the soul.

If the desert isle remains a fantasy, the music at least is in the realm of possibility. And what could be more satisfying than two (or three) masters making music together in an intimate setting? So here are four discs that fill the bill admirably, featuring, respectively, violin & piano; violin & percussion; guitar, bandolim & cello; and piano & guitar.

The legendary Fafá Lemos (1921–2004) and Carolina Cardoso de Menezes (1916–2000) both worked with Garoto, although not at the same time. Fafá & Carolina, recorded in 1989, was a late-life collaboration between the violinist and the pianist, and the last album for each. Here they apply their deft touch to a string of standards that takes me back to the wicker-chaired seaside cafés of my childhood, where a live band was always on hand to embellish your iced coffee (ice cream within and whipped cream on top) with soothing sounds of this kind, although perhaps no so well played.

Fafá Lemos & Carolina Cardoso de Menezes: Fafá & Carolina
(Eldorado 278140; 1989/2003) 42:21 min.

01. No Rancho Fundo (Ary Barroso/Lamartine Babo)
02. Se Acaso Você Chegasse (Lupicínio Rodrigues/Felisberto Martins)
03. Na Madrugada (Nilo Sérgio)
04. Bem-te-vi Atrevido (Lina Pesce)
05. A Saudade Mata a Gente (Antônio Almeida/João de Barro)
06. Conversa de Botequim (Vadico/Noel Rosa)
07. Tudo Cabe num Beijo (Carolina Cardoso de Menezes/Oswaldo Santiago)
08. Three Little Words (Bert Kalmar/Harry Ruby)
      My Blue Heaven (Walter Donaldson/George Whiting)
09. Ninguém Me Ama (Fernando Lobo/Antônio Maria)
10. Douce France (Léo Chauliac/Charles Trenet)
      Vous qui passez sans me voir (Johnny Hess/Charles Trenet/ed. Raoul
11. Curió Dengoso (Carolina Cardoso de Menezes)
12. Pedacinhos do Céu (Waldyr Azevedo)
13. Duas Contas (Garoto)

North Meets South features another kind of violin altogether. This album, nominated for this year’s Latin Grammy in the Best Brazilian Roots/Regional Album category, is the brainchild of Brazilian percussionist Caito Marcondes and American violinist Tracy Silverman (of Turtle Island String Quartet fame).

Where Fafá & Carolina was all about familiarity, North Meets South is about adventure and exploration, more a friendly sparring duel than a serenade. Brilliant instrumentalists, Silverman and Marcondes turn in surprising renditions of well-known Brazilian tunes and original compositions sporting a plethora of regional accents. Having recorded together before, the two clearly revel in each other’s company.

Tracy Silverman & Caito Marcondes: North Meets South
(Núcleo Contemporâneo NC 019; 2002) 37:49 min.

01. Repente (Caito Marcondes)
02. O Trenzinho do Caipira (Heitor Villa-Lobos)
03. Chiclete com Banana (Gordurinha/Almira Castilho)
04. Olive Branch (Tracy Silverman)
05. Are You Sleeping? (Tracy Silverman)
06. Dança do Sol (Caito Marcondes)
07. Firehouse (Tracy Silverman)
08. Paracamby (Caito Marcondes)
09. Canon (Tracy Silverman)
10. Canção da Partida (Dorival Caymmi)
11. Last Word (Caito Marcondes/Tracy Silverman)

Guitarist Daniel Miranda, bandolinista Paulo Sá, and cellist Henrique Drach are Rio Trio, an exciting chamber ensemble straddling the popular and the erudite. The trio’s eponymous debut disc showcases original compositions that lend to traditional Brazilian genres (choro, samba, moda de viola) a sophisticated modern air. Fortunately there’s no need for me to paint the music in words, for the entire album is available for listening on the trio’s website. Pure delights are in store for you.

Rio Trio: Rio Trio
(Independent 300410; 2001) 31:59 min.

01. Tirando de Letra (Paulo Sá)
02. Esperança (Daniel Miranda)
03. Sonhos (Paulo Sá)
04. Miguel (Paulo Sá)
05. Desculpe Seu Luís (Daniel Miranda)
06. Caminho (Paulo Sá)
07. Impressões (Paulo Sá)
08. Sutilezas ao Léu (Paulo Sá)
09. Caladas Estrelas (Gibran Helyael)
10. São Gabriel (Daniel Miranda)
11. Mariana (Paulo Sá)

About Cesar Camargo Mariano and Romero Lubambo there’s little that hasn’t been said. Together, the two masters make the difficult pairing of piano and guitar sound effortless, evolving a give-and-take dialog that passes the baton from one to the other. Beginning with the bluesy opening to Djavan’s “Samba Dobrado” and ending with a contemplative “Wave,” the duo’s melodic and harmonic solutions are sure-footed yet never obvious.

Cesar Camargo Mariano & Romero Lubambo: Duo
(Sunnyside Records SSC 1115; 2003) 52:57 min.

01. Samba Dobrado (Djavan)
02. Choro #7 (Cesar Camargo Mariano)
03. Joy Spring (Clifford Brown/Max Roach)
04. Mr. Jr. (Romero Lubambo)
05. Era Bom (Hianto de Almeida/Macedo Neto)
06. O que É, o que É (C.C. Mariano/Márcio Moreira/Sérgio Augusto)
07. Fotografia (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
08. Short Cut (Cesar Camargo Mariano)
09. April Child (Moacir Santos)
10. Wave (Antonio Carlos Jobim)


Copyright © 2003–2014 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.