Grammy award winning artists Luciana Souza and Vince Mendoza have joined forces with the WDR Big Band Köln on this most extraordinary collaboration - Storytellers - Luciana’s tenth recording for Sunnyside Records.
Considered one of the most important singers of her generation, Brazilian-born Luciana Souza brings her deeply personal and illuminated singing to songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Chico Pinheiro, Edu Lobo, Chico Buarque, Guinga, Djavan, Ivan Lins, and Gilberto Gil.
Renowned arranger Vince Mendoza presents each song in this collection with an enlightened score that springs from his profound understanding of orchestration, coloring, and his exceptional ability as a composer.
Here, the listener is rewarded with a recording that is essential and truthful, where joy and sorrow, loss and love, come from stories articulated in ways that reach incomparable beauty.
In her short essay that accompanies Storytellers, Luciana Souza says:
"Songs have always been a mysterious gateway into the human experience and into the cultures from which they spring. They articulate the feelings of being a distinct part of a culture, and they grow out of stories and mythologies that the culture is built upon.
For Vince and me, Matita Perê is at the center of this recording. It is Jobim’s tribute to the vast and relentless presence of nature in Brazil. It is also the composer’s homage to João, the common man, and his internal conflicts as he travels through life’s triumphs and tragedies, as the music travels through all tonalities.
Beatriz, also an essential choice in this collection of songs, was written for the ballet O Grande Circo Místico. The story of Beatriz comes from Beatrice, who guides Dante to Hell in The Divine Comedy. Chico Buarque’s poem is presented as a series of questions. Is she young, or old? Is she made of ether? Does she cry alone in her hotel room?
Courtship… The abundance of nature and the human threat to the environment… The experience of solitude and melancholy… An ode to Copacabana… Love and lust... These were the stories we elected to examine in the form of song.
The photograph that graces the cover of this recording is of the Juruá River, in the Brazilian Amazon, by Sebastião Salgado. Sebastião is a giant storyteller. Trained as an economist, he has done more to illuminate issues of social injustice and inequality than anyone I know. He has told stories of workers, of motherless children, of forests razored flat by greedy men, of the endangered native people of Brazil. His work, like Jobim’s, rests as some of the most important and impactful art ever to come out of Brazil.
Vince’s expression as an arranger achieves sublime beauty and refinement with this music, making him a translator of sorts - he reveals and decodes the Portuguese language, the Brazilian harmonies, melodies, and rhythms. Through his unique sonority and his brilliant orchestration we are rewarded with a better understanding of ourselves.
This music was beautifully performed by the exceptional musicians of the WDR Big Band. To me, as an interpreter of songs, it presents the most extraordinary opportunity to tell these remarkable stories, invoking sensations and endeavoring to bring meaning into sound."
released March 27, 2020
Luciana Souza - vocals
Vince Mendoza - producer, arranger & conductor
WDR Big Band Köln:
Johan Hörlen - saxophone
Karolina Strassmayer - saxophone
Olivier Peters - saxophone
Paul Heller - saxophone
Jens Neufang - saxophone
Stefan Karl Schmid - saxophone
Wim Both - trumpet
Rob Bruynen - trumpet
Andy Haderer - trumpet
Ruud Breuls - trumpet
John Marshall - trumpet
Bastian Stein - trumpet
Ludwig Nuss - trombone
Shannon Barnett - trombone
Andy Hunter - trombone
Mattis Cederberg - tuba
Paul Shigihara - guitar
John Goldsby - bass
Rainer Böhm - piano
Hans Dekker - drums
Marcio Doctor - percussion
This is a wonderful album! Dave Douglas is one of my heroes. He's more than a great musician. He has a vision for the music and a feeling for putting together a group which is unique. So, beside Joey Baron (another heavyweight and one of my absolute favourite drummers) he invited some young cats to this session. They play just great and make sure that this music sounds totally fresh, whilst at the same time being deeply rooted in the jazz tradition. Florian Arbenz
Superb album - listen to it every day since I bought it. Away is a lovely, plaintive, yearning duet with the great Sachal. And thank you for showing me that Greenfinch & Linnet Bird is actually one of Sondheim's best songs. queenattolia