Luciana Souza – Speaking In Tongues

Luciana Souza "Speaking In Tongues"The musicians on Luciana Souza‘s new album come from all parts of the world and create a fascinating melange of sounds and styles, probably best described in the opening track “At The Fair”, a joyous and playful tune with intensive conversations between harmonica player Grégoire Maret and guitarist Lionel Loueke.

Her wordless vocals enhance the Gary Versace-written, Pat Metheny-like “Hymn” where Grégoire is featured prominently and drummer Kendrick Scott is creating a big surrounding wall until the song comes to a soft and beautiful ending. The fusiony “Straw Hat” finds her in summery mood and “Filhos De Gandhi” is a nice example of world music turned upside down where Luciana only uses words for the title of the song which breaks up into some jam-like piece.

There are only two songs with lyrics on the album, which was produced by her husband Larry Klein. Those two songs come from the Leonard Cohen collection “The Book Of Longing” where Luciana added the music. Of his work, she says that “he hits the depth of a scene or a feeling; he distills the human experience down to these moments…moments that articulate the tragedy, joy and eternal questions of life into a couple of lines of simple language”. And so, “Split” is a welcome change of pace here with its dirge-like mood and “No One To Follow” going more or less the same route.

There is more eeriness in the Kendrick Scott & Mike Moreno-penned “A Pebble In Still Water” which, again, could have been from a 90s Pat Metheny album and where bassist Massimo Biolcati should be mentioned as well – always serving as a big support throughout. Luciana, who grew up in Brazil and who was encouraged by her godfather, the legendary Hermeto Pascoal, to sing along with instruments, is truly part of the ensemble on “Free At Last”, her own strong paean and “A.M.” by Lionel Loueke, a peaceful track with healing qualities.

Luciana is one of the judges in this year’s Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition in Los Angeles in mid-November and has some dates with the members of her album this fall: 92nd Street Y in New York on November 19th, Regattabar in Cambridge on November 20th, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore on the 21st.

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