Luciana Souza Trio visits LU

Jazz vocalist Luciana Souza came to Lawrence last Friday, Nov. 4, accompanied by legendary drummer Cyro Baptista and guitarist Romero Lubambo for a concert filled with extraordinary Brazilian tunes. The three musicians were all born in Brazil but met in other places around the world and began making music together after that. As the music started, the ensemble struck me as incredibly unique and beautiful. The expanded drum kit that Baptista played allowed many sounds and grooves, and Lubambo’s guitar playing was always sweet and wholeheartedly innocent in nature. What stuck out the most, however, was the pure and delightful lullabye-ish quality of Souza’s voice. She was able to negotiate every rhythm thrown at her, and her voice paired nicely with the lyrical harmonies from the guitar. After they performed for a while, Souza and Lubambo walked off stage for a special solo performance from Baptista on the drums. While the trio ended playing with a series of ballads, Baptista’s solo performance was far from ballad-like. The sounds he created at first were that of a jungle, but soon after he was able to morph the soundscape into a series of interesting grooves. After his drum solo, Baptista left the stage for a series of pieces for just guitar and voice from Lubambo and Souza. Lubambo was able to collaborate so closely with voice that this piece made for the most emotional part of the concert as these two world-class musicians played together. The concert finished with the trio playing together more Brazilian music that incorporated jazz through rhythm and harmony. Souza and her trio coming to Lawrence was a massive honor—this unique mixture of world music and jazz was extremely well suited for Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration weekend.