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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America


Published May 30, 2006

North And South

On The Poems Of Elizabeth Bishop And Other Songs, Souza performed original songs using the words of the American poet and a jazz quintet. Brazilian Duos, the second in her trilogy, stripped Brazilian standards down to their innate vibrancy, warming them only with voice and lone guitar. This time out, Souza rethinks love songs of various stripes, tossing in a couple of bossa novas for good measure. The result is North And South, a cleanly arranged (for quartet—piano, bass, drums, voice) and expertly performed set that combines the irreverent sexiness of Brazilians and insouciant boldness of Americans. On “All Of Me,” Souza reveals a surprising Betty Carter-esque phrasing, working in and out of the instrumental trio, led by pianist Bruce Barth. Scatting with confidence, Souza imbues the samba “Se é Tarde Me Perdoa” with a playful lightness, crystallizing the farcical image of a philandering husband trying desperately to reenter his locked home. Proving herself a commanding leader and arranger, Souza sacrifices a measure of intimacy found on both Poems and Duos, but with North And South she serves notice her musical journeys between are just beginning.