TUDO AZUL (Riony Records)
Tudo Azul -- Beautiful Hues of Brazilian Jazz
In an age when mediocrity is often rewarded and glorified – in a time when the use of gimmicks is promoted as talent, it’s reassuring to hear pure, clean, clear, distinct, soulful, and beautiful music made by real, gifted musicians. Tudo Azul, is a pristine Brazilian addition to the world of jazz.
Music is about moving our soul. I’m convinced that’s the way we all measure the things we love, whether it’s food, friends or music. The more things move us, the more we love them. Tudo Azul, by Susan Pereira and Sabor Brasil, is a stellar collection of soul-felt performances, beautiful compositions, great arrangements and inspired playing that is sure to move you deeply. There’s an unrelenting swing that takes hold at the beginning of "West End P.A.", meanders through various other styles and doesn’t let go until the last note of "Na Baixa do Sapateiro".
Susan Pereira brings a sense of care and sensitivity to each selection. Whether it’s one of her five compositions or any of the other five classics included here, the emphasis is always on the music – and the music alone. There’s no one individual or instrument favored over another, instead, a fusion of collective talent is highlighted throughout the recording. Susan takes full creative advantage of each of the fabulous musicians to express her unique musical vision. While some of the tunes may be well-known, Pereira takes possession of each and makes them completely her own – a sign of a highly evolved musician and bandleader, one who respects the music enough to not impose vanity on it. This should come as no surprise as Susan, besides being a superb vocalist, is also an accomplished pianist, percussionist, composer and arranger. She arranged all ten selections on this recording.
The contributions of special musical guests, trumpeter Claudio Roditi, guitarist Romero Lubambo and harmonica master Hendrik Meurkens, are beautiful additions that make this recording more special. The other excellent musicians who contributed to these sessions should also be noted.
Anchoring the band is Susan’s husband and partner, drummer/percussionist Vanderlei Pereira – just as capable of propelling the ensemble with his relentless polyrhythmic drive, as he is of gently soothing life into the softest samba. Dario Eskenazi contributes some smoking piano on several tracks, and trombonist Luis Bonilla is given ample opportunity to shine as well. Just as impressive is the rest of the band: Mark Lambert on electric guitar adds an urgent contemporary edge. Bassists Kip Reed, Leo Traversa, and Itaiguara fill out the foundations of the various styles, and the wonderful Laura Dreyer is everywhere on woodwinds.
It’s easy to hear the love that went into making this recording. Susan Pereira and Sabor Brasil’s Tudo Azul is not just a taste of Brazilian jazz; it’s an aural piece of Susan’s heart, a gorgeous record from beginning to end. It would be inaccurate to call such an inclusive musical statement a “singer’s record.” However, Susan Pereira’s voice is as beautiful and soulful as it is pure and confident. To say any more would be ineffective – any less, an injustice.
— Alfredo Cruz
Alfredo Cruz is a preeminent radio producer and a long-time friend of jazz. His career has led him to positions at NPR, KLON/KJJZ-FM, and WBGO-FM, where he created the celebrated “Latin Jazz Cruise”.