Luciana Souza brings the bossa to Millennium Park | Bleader

Luciana Souza brings the bossa to Millennium Park

The Brazilian jazz singer plays two free shows with Luna Negra Dance Theater

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6a6b/1248199069-ls-421_8bit.jpgTalented Brazilian jazz singer Luciana Souza (pictured, photo by Gabriel Renaldi) will appear Wednesday and Friday nights at the Pritzker Pavilion as part of two free concerts by the Grant Park Orchestra and Luna Negra Dance Theater. They'll perform a new piece, “Bossa Nova,” created by the dance company’s outgoing choreographer Eduardo Vilaro.

Earlier in the program Souza will sing three songs—accompanied by guitarist Romero Lubambo—from her new album, Tide (Verve), which includes some bossa numbers but is dominated by original English-language songs that seem to draw most of their inspiration from the work of Joni Mitchell, even when they glide on tropical grooves. Vilaro’s piece includes classic material by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Chico Buarque, and Hermeto Pascoal as well as a reading of “Sai Dessa,” a song made famous by Elis Regina.

Though the rhythmic fluidity and melodic grace that distinguish samba and bossa nova course through all of Souza’s work, she’s long bucked the expectations most people have of a Brazilian singer—with mixed results. Her previous album, The New Bossa (2007), tried with limited success to create bossa settings for treacly tunes by the likes of Sting and James Taylor, in a bossa setting. The new disc isn’t saddled with material that's only a notch above adult-contemporary glop, but I’m not a fan of her husband-producer Larry Klein, who's worked frequently with Joni Mitchell and who tends to create arrangements without much space or buoyancy. My favorite song is the opener, “Adeus America & Eu Quero um Samba,” a spry medley of some classic samba material.

Today’s playlist:

Akira Sakata with Jim O’Rourke, Explosion (PJL)
Various artists, Ethnic Minority Music of North Vietnam (Sublime Frequencies)
John Coltrane, Standard Coltrane (Prestige)
Bettye LaVette, Do Your Duty (Sundazed)
Ida Maria, Fortress ’Round My Heart (Mercury)

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