Stunning, provocative, impassioned, esoteric, beautiful and soulful - just a few of the many adjectives that can be used to describe Luciana Souza's remarkable new album, The Book Of Longing, set for release via Sunnyside Records on August 24th, 2018. Produced by veteran music executive Larry Klein and recorded at Village Recording Studios in Los Angeles, The Book Of Longing is a tour-de-force for the Grammy-nominated vocalist whose career continues to cross musical boundaries with unabashed curiosity and unbridled sheer delight. The release of The Book Of Longing will be accompanied by select tour dates across the globe.
To put it simply, The Book Of Longing is a song cycle - a passionate melding of poetry by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti and Luciana herself - set to beautiful string accompaniment - for which all of the music was written and arranged by Souza. But this album is anything but simple - and its treasure trove of tracks comb the depths of human emotion from start to finish.
When describing the creative process behind the making of The Book Of Longing, Luciana was very concise as to how she approached the recording. "It became clear to me that I wanted this recording to be about words and how they make me feel. How a set of ideas can take me places, reveal things I didn’t know or even knew that I needed to know. As I started setting these poems I wanted the words to be heard, but not necessarily defined. To me, the string instruments offer the best canvas for these songs. Like the voice, the sound of plucked strings decay and brings on silence and more possibility for listening. Also, the idea of counterpoint between the voice and strings was essential to me. The music would have to be simple and unadorned. Thus began the process of editing and shedding layers of more complex harmony and melody in favor of the most basic and expressive of landscapes - it’s about the words, I reminded myself - simple triads moving directly, tonal melodies, no fuss or unnecessary activity or ornaments."
Accompanying Luciana on the recording are Scott Colley on bass and Chico Pinheiro on guitar, and the album was recorded as a live project with percussion overdub. Added Souza, "Making music with Chico and Scott is a thing of wonder. They have bountiful hearts, incredibly able hands, and abundant musical intelligence. Larry's generous and curious guidance fostered our creativity and kept things transparent and honest. To all of them, I am eternally grateful."
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This is a album I've gone back to several times. Matt lets his group play, and play they do. All of these pieces fell like full-group efforts, not written by a bassist to feature bass. Some songs feel driven, some searching, some making statements. Outstanding. Kenneth Pyron