Live at JazzBaltica
Trio Da Paz & Joe Locke
Placing a guest soloist from the straight-ahead jazz world alongside a Latin Jazz group has been a long standing tradition since the genre’s early days. Chico O’Farrill brought the Machito Orchestra together with bebop soloist Charlie Parker on the legendary Afro Cuban Jazz Suite. New York radio personality Roger Dawson organized a regular Monday night gig at the Village Gate entitled Salsa Meets Jazz that combined artists from both worlds. Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla created the classic Nuevo Tango album Summit – Reunion Cumbre with saxophonist Gerry Mulligan while Joao Gilberto and Anotonio Carlos Jobim collaborated with saxophonist Stan Getz to popularize bossa nova with the album Getz/Gilberto. It’s a natural connection that organically draws upon the music’s strengths and artistic crossroads. The results vary from stunningly beautiful to stiff and forced, but it almost always provides an interesting listening experience. Brazilian Jazz group Trio Da Paz collaborates with vibraphonist Joe Locke on Live at JazzBaltica, delivering an exciting and cohesive performance.
Collaboratively Exploring Brazilian Jazz
Trio Da Paz collaboratively explores Brazilian Jazz with Locke on a series of original compositions. An unaccompanied introduction by guitarist Romero Lubambo evolves into a rhythmic vamp and an urgent melody on his “Bachião.” Locke’s improvisation captures the song’s spirit with a flurry of rapid notes, while Lubambo invites enthusiastic rhythm section response with interesting lines and syncopated chordal figures. After an intriguing solo from bassist Nilson Matta, Locke and Lubambo engage in a collective improvisation, leading into a well-constructed statement by drummer Duduka Da Fonseca. A swaying samba vamp leads into a beautifully simple and colorful melody on Matta’s “Copacabana.” Lubambo strings together chordal melodies and cleverly shaped single-note lines into a tasteful statement. Locke applies his jazz sensibility to the song’s rich chordal pattern, resulting in a lyrical solo. A loose Partido Alto groove introduces Da Fonseca’s “Dona Maria,” laying a foundation for Lubambo’s chordal interpretation of the melody. As the rhythm section transitions into an up-tempo Samba, Locke attacks his improvisation with a ferocious passion, building into a wild frenzy. Lubambo matches Locke’s intensity with syncopated rhythms, rapid patterns of notes, and dissonant chordal sounds. The trio thrives in their element on these tracks, while Locke demonstrates his ability to express himself in Brazilian music.
Looking At Jazz Repertoire
The group also plays upon Locke’s strengths by integrating songs from the jazz repertoire into their set. Lubambo and Locke playfully trade short ideas before falling into the melody on “All The Things You Are.” After both Locke and Lubambo display a vast familiarity with the song through inspiring solos, the band disappears as Da Fonseca explores a variety of freely interpreted ideas. As the band returns, Locke and Lubambo aggressively trade ideas, building intensity with each exchange. Matta and Lubambo maintain a steady vamp while Da Fonseca adds coloristic embellishments behind Locke’s gentle melody on his “Sword of Whispers.” Locke thoughtfully builds his statements, using space and lyrical grace. After a more assertive solo from Lubambo, Matta develops his idea with a combination of strong themes, rhythm ideas, and an underlying conviction. These pieces demonstrate a broad range of abilities from all the musicians who easily connect jazz and Brazilian music.
Trio Da Paz As An Independent Unit
The trio establishes themselves as a solid unit on several songs performed without Locke. After a subdued guitar introduction, Lubambo and Matta share the melody on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Wave.” Da Fonseca and Lubambo maintain a sparse backdrop as Matta delicately explores the classic song’s harmony with a thoughtful improvisation. Da Fonseca disappears completely behind Lubambo as he creates a clever variation on the main them with a chordal melody. An open vamp, full of anticipation, leads into an up-tempo melody, ripe with quick lines and accented breaks on Lubambo’s “Pro Flávio.” After a rhythmically interesting solo from Matta, Da Fonseca helps push Lubambo’s improvisation towards a high dynamic with gradually thickening textures. As Matta and Lubambo move aside, Da Fonseca varies accents on a snare, building into a complex statement across the full drum kit. Lubambo presents a subdued vamp before easing into an understated melodic reading on Jobim’s “Look To The Sky.” Matta displays a gift for melodic invention, weaving tasteful lines into a complete statement. Lubambo follows with rhythmic variations. The strong musicianship and constant communication found on these tracks reveal a tightly knit group with years of unified performance experience.
Emphasizing The Commonalities Between The Latin and Jazz Worlds
Trio Da Paz builds a sympathetic relationship with Locke on Live at JazzBaltica, forming a cohesive sound through complimentary performance approaches. Locke improvises with a ferocious passion, but his momentum never overrides his sense of group collaboration. He moves between asserting his own voice, bending to the will of the trio, and pushing his fellow musicians to new heights. He acts as both a sensitive and fearless musician, bravely finding his place within an established unit. Trio Da Paz continues their ride as a dominant voice in Brazilian Jazz with an exciting, multi-dimensional performance. Their knowledge of the greater Brazilian tradition fuels each piece of their musical journey, but they always find room to prioritize jazz improvisation. Their collaboration with Locke demonstrates a broad understanding of jazz, and their ability to work as a sympathetic rhythm section that provides both support and interaction. Live at JazzBaltica showcases the best aesthetics of both jazz and Latin styles, but it also blurs the line between the two genres, emphasizing their strong commonalities.