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The Poems of Elizabeth Bishop and Other Songs

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Album Review

Luciana Souza moves to the Sunnyside label for her second album, an ambitious project focusing on the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979). In all, four of Bishop's poems receive original musical treatments. But in a rather bold move, Souza includes two of her own song-poems, "Daze" and "Do Tell," which stand up quite well in comparison. Six more originals with wordless vocals complete the program. Souza's partners in this endeavor — pianist Bruce Barth, saxophonist Chris Cheek, bassist John Lockwood, and drummer Marlon Browden — do a superb job with her delicate but often quite difficult material. Barth and Souza go it alone on two of the Bishop poems, "Argument" and "Imber Nocturnus." "Sonnet," which opens the disc and returns as a reprise, has a surprising, almost Carole King-like pop-folk vibe. The remarkable "Insomnia" finds Souza involved in a bit of semi-vocalese, capturing the night imagery in the swooping, rapid play of syllables. Admirers of this record will be interested in hearing Souza on Andrew Rathbun's True Stories, a like-minded encounter with the poems of Margaret Atwood. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi


Born: 14 June 1966 in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Luciana Souza's first solo album was An Answer to Your Silence (NYC Records, 1999). The Poems of Elizabeth Bishop and Other Songs (Sunnyside Records, 2000) was fifth place in The New York Times' 2000 The Year in Pop and Jazz: The Critics' Choice list. In 1991, she was elected Discovery of the Year by APCA for her work with Hermeto Pascoal. In the next year, she toured with the Zimbo Trio. In 1995, she was nominated for Outstanding Latin Act and, in the next year, Outstanding Jazz Vocalist at the...
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